Following a run of low-scoring games that has led to sustained criticism of the manager, Manchester United boss, Louis Van Gaal, has admitted to feeling bored and even angry while watching his side play this season.
United’s creative problems were laid bare as they needed an injury-time penalty to overcome League One side Sheffield United in their third-round FA Cup tie last Saturday, a 10th successive home game in which Van Gaal’s side had failed to score a first-half goal.
Former United midfielder, Paul Scholes, who is now a television pudit, branded Van Gaal’s team as “boring” adding that the manager looked bored on the touchline, along with just about everyone else watching the match.
The same complaint has followed United throughout much of Van Gaal’s reign but this is the first time he has confessed to finding their performances monotonous and, though he continued to defend his team against the “very negative” media, he said he understood the supporters’ dark humour.
Speaking during a news conference at Carrington, the 64-year old said: “There are matches that I have enjoyed very much. Against Chelsea I enjoyed it but the result was 0-0 and we could have lost.
“There are also matches where I’m very bored or angry because we are not disorganising our opponent’s defence but that is football. It’s not every match that every club is playing fantastically, football that attracts the people.
“They have been ironic [against Sheffield United] but that’s an expression of the fans and that’s good. The players were frustrated and the fans were frustrated. But the fans also have to know we can’t always play fantastic football and that was also the case in former days when it didn’t happen. I’m sorry about that, but it is like that.”
Van Gaal has also been criticised for not getting off of his seat and encouraging players from the touchline, but the manager said he believed communication through the week was more effective.
“I’m not Sir Alex [Ferguson], as you know. Everybody is different and I don’t believe in yelling from the sidelines,” he said.
“I believe in communication during the week, during the preparation and I believe in my players who have to perform.”
The Dutchman has seemingly survived any short-term threat to his job after a torrid December in which the club fell nine points behind Premier League leader Arsenal and failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Van Gaal’s future as United boss will be thrown into question again on Tuesday if his team fail to win at Newcastle.