Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has reignited his war of words with Louis van Gaal, arguing the FA Cup was not among the club's priorities this season. Scholes, 41, has been an outspoken critic of the under-pressure Dutchman throughout the season and says the Red Devils have once again fallen short of expectations..
Scholes claimed the Premier League and Champions League were United's primary focuses and, regardless of whether they lift the FA Cup at Wembley tomorrow (21 May), it will be another season of underachievement at Old Trafford. Scholes said United's attitude towards the FA Cup is a reflection of how far the club has sunk since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
"It [the trophy drought] has been disappointing as we obviously want to be in the FA Cup final as it's a big day," the ex-United hero said, according to the Manchester Evening News. "It's long overdue but I also think it hasn't really been a priority. We all know it's a massive major competition but was it the priority over the Champions League or the Premier League?
Ahead of the Cup Final, Scholes also cautioned United against taking Crystal Palace for granted, insisting they have the ability to cause an upset. "I think people are probably assuming United are going to win it but it's going to be a tough game," he said of United's hopes. "Crystal Palace are a decent side and I think they can cause any team problems, so I think it will be tight."
The comments come shortly after Van Gaal suggested Scholes' criticism has influenced United fans' views of the team this season. "Of course all this speculation about my future for six months makes me angry. I have shown that many, many times," Van Gaal said. "You are asking and you know already my answer! It's rhetorical, I think.
"I have shown that and I am an open book for everybody. I have said that, but in spite of the attacks of the media – and not only the media, the legends and other kinds of people – I am here and I am fighting. And I believe in myself. I believe in Manchester United. I believe in the players. I hope that everybody is believing like me, then it is much more easier."