Van Gaal Distributes Dossier to Dismiss 'Long-ball United' Jibe

Louis Van Gaal: man United boss

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has dismissed claims his team relies heavily on long passes by distributing dossiers containing statistics and diagrams from the club’s visit of West Ham United at the weekens to journalists at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Red Devils had snatched a 1-1 draw from Boleyn Ground in a Premier League match on Sunday, with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce quick to label his visitors ‘long-ball United’.

An irritated van Gaal however explained that in the true sense of the word, it was West Ham that actually played more long passes during the match on Sunday as shown in his four-page document, which he asked to be shown to “Big Sam” so he can get “a good interpretation”.

In his words, ” I am sorry, but we are playing ball-possession and after 70 minutes we did not succeed, in spite of many chances in the second half, so then I changed my playing style. Then, of course, with the quality of Fellaini we played more forward balls and we scored from that, so I think it was a very good decision of the manager.”

Van Gaal added that his side had played almost half of their long passes sideways while the Hammers played more long passes forward, implying that West Ham was the long-ball team.

“When you see overall the long ball [statistics] you see West Ham have played 71% of the long balls to the forwards and we 49%. So, I will give you this data and you can see that the blue ones are the good ones because long balls are also very difficult, which is why I began with the explanation of ball possession. When you have 60% ball possession you cannot play long balls. So again, they did it 71 and we 49, and I give it you, you can copy it and you can go to Big Sam and he will get a good interpretation.”