Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal
Brendan Rodgers (left) and Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford Getty Images

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers does not think Manchester United's players are following the instructions of Louis van Gaal. The 43-year-old Northern Irishman is a long-time admirer of the Dutch coach and has defended him in the face of recent criticism.

Van Gaal was been widely ridiculed for this safety-first approach since taking charge at Old Trafford, with many former United players suggesting he is betraying the club's attack-minded philosophy. But rather than blaming the manager for United's woes, Rodgers thinks more focus should be put on the players.

"I see a lot of the criticism he gets but there's no way that Louis van Gaal is sending the players out to have that few amount of shots on target," the former Liverpool boss told Talksport.

Rodgers questioned whether the current United squad has a sufficient number of flair players to produce eye-catching football. "This is a guy who's been around a long time and he built a team in 1995 at Ajax that everybody talked about for years, it was a real attacking blend of football," he said. "I think it's a lot about the players as well. You look at United, do they have the players that can excite like what they had did before? That's part to do with it as well."

Meanwhile, Rodgers also ruled out the chance of him ever managing the Red Devils, having previously been in charge of their eternal rivals Liverpool. "When you manage Liverpool you know the Manchester United job is gone," he said.

United currently sit fifth in the Premier League, having suffered a woeful run of results of late. Van Gaal is rumoured to be under pressure for his job at Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho reportedly keen on replacing him at United.