Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has stuck the boot into Louis van Gaal for the Red Devils' style of play following the team's fortuitous 1-0 win against League One side Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday (9 January 2016). The Red Devils progressed on the basis of a penalty awarded during injury time that was slotted home by Wayne Rooney, saving United the blushes after a difficult festive period.
Anthony Martial and Rooney failed to carve open the Sheffield defence, which was sitting very deep and only a mistake in the final few minutes of the game could recover the points required to progress in the tournament. Scholes, who was part of many United sides that made attack their primary concern, was disappointed by Van Gaal's tactics, stating that he did not have any idea about the best positions of their first-team players.
Speaking on BT Sport, where he is now a pundit for the channel, the former England international questioned Marouane Fellaini's inclusion in the team in a midfield role when he can be used closer up front where his stature and physical presence can be employed to win balls and link up with players around him. Ander Herrera was another player who got the stick for not having his role in the team clearly marked something the Dutchman needs to consider before assembling the 11 for the game against Newcastle United on 12 January.
Scholes described the brand of football as boring and defensive. "You need to make something happen as a footballer at this club," Scholes said in a post-match assessment, as quoted by the Mirror. "People need digging out sometimes. I'd have my head in my hands. I'd be depressed. It would take me two or three days to get over that performance. You've just seen 90 minutes of boring, defensive football. The players are bored, fans are bored, everyone's bored. You look across at the bench and Van Gaal looks bored as well.
"I have tried to defend this team now for the last two or three weeks and it is getting more and more difficult to do. Every time you come to Old Trafford – this is what you see. Negative football. You can talk about 31 shots in the last two games – we only scored two goals. I see square pegs in round holes," he added.