Louis van Gaal is unconcerned by Paul Scholes’ criticism of Manchester United for “lacking creativity,” citing the nursery rhyme: “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.” Scholes said following the Capital One Cup defeat to Middlesbrough that he would not want to play for the current side and that the team appeared unwilling to take any risks.
United’s Dutch manager, speaking at his weekly news conference ahead of United’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, insisted he does have an attacking philosophy and brushed off Scholes’ remarks:
“I think Manchester United is always entertaining but when I read the papers I see that it is boring. You have a saying in England that sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.
“You play for the fans, therefore I say to you that the stadium is still full and that, in the Capital One Cup, is unbelievable. That is not normal, so they like the way we have played.
“In spite of the defeat, when we were going to our dressing room, they were applauding.
“When you go out of the cup, the next day is always like that. As manager of Manchester United you know you’re going to have a hard time.”
Asked if the next phase in United’s development under him was to start taking risks, Van Gaal replied: “Now you are agreeing with the opinion of Paul Scholes. I don’t agree with his opinion. I always take risks.
“But I don’t want to defend myself as he is a legend and he has a lot of resonance, I hear.”
Scholes had told BBC Manchester following United’s defeat to Middlesbrough on penalties: “There’s a lack of creativity and risk. It’s probably not a team I’d have enjoyed playing in.”
United have scored the fewest goals among the top six in the Premier League but Van Gaal said it would take three years to complete his transformation of the club.
He said: “It’s a process, it takes three years, that’s why I signed for three years. But when Mr Scholes says I have to go, then I must go, but that is not his responsibility, it is that of Mr Woodward and the Glazers.
“I know that when I shall lose and lose and lose then I shall be finished, but I shall be doing everything with this club because these fans are unbelievable.”
Van Gaal claimed there had been significant progress, with United achieving 20 points from their first 10 games compared to 13 last year and going a stage further in the Capital One Cup.
He added: “We are improving a lot. We got played off the pitch by MK Dons last year and now we are almost in the quarterfinals.
“Last year we had 13 points from 10 games and now we have 20 points from 10 games, and the next round of the Capital One Cup and we are in the Champions League. Last year it was not like that.”
Van Gaal also revealed he has injury problems for the Crystal Palace match with Memphis Depay, Antonio Valencia and James Wilson all out of the trip to London.
Depay and Wilson were both injured in the Middlesbrough game while Valencia hurt his foot in the Manchester derby last weekend.
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