Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has hit back at Paul Scholes after the former midfielder slammed the Dutch boss for creating a team "brilliantly coached to defend" but unenjoyable to play for. The Premier League giants were knocked out of the Capital One Cup on penalties after being unable to score in 120 minutes against Middlesbrough, just days after a goalless draw against Manchester City at Old Trafford.
Scholes claimed the defensive approach of Van Gaal was to blame for the club's disappointing performances and defended his former teammate Wayne Rooney from the scrutiny, claiming even the likes of "Ruud van Nistelrooy, Teddy Sheringham or Andy Cole" would struggle to score goals for United.
The manager responded to the United legend during the press conference ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace on 31 October, claiming he was unimpressed by his critics.
"You have an expression. I always use Dutch expression, but you have a fantastic expression for that, sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Fantastic, fantastic expression. You do understand the meaning of this?" he said. "No. He [Scholes] doesn't have the responsibility, so he can say everything. Why is he saying something? For the benefit of the club or because of the benefit of himself?
""Now you are agreeing with the opinion of Paul Scholes. I always take risks, but I do not agree with his opinion but I don't want to defend myself because I cannot defend, because he is a legend and he has a lot of resonance, so I hear. I think when you are a legend, you have to speak with the manager or his friend, Ryan Giggs, or Ed Woodward, but not this way, because he will be paid by the BBC or Sky and then you have to say something."
Scholes, in his criticism of Van Gaal's methods, also said the manager had created a team "brilliantly coached to defend". But the United manager responded: "The compliments? That is not important either, because I know when we shall lose and lose and lose, I shall be finished, but I shall do everything for this club because, as I have already said, this club is unbelievable. I know that. It's a process, it takes 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."
Van Gaal, nevertheless, claimed he only cares about the opinions of the fans. He said: "I think Manchester United is always entertaining. I read also the papers and I see it [United's 0-0 Capital One Cup game with Middlesbrough] was boring, but I don't think there are more spectators in another stadium than this ground. It's also an aspect, that 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. Because I think that is not normal, so they like the way we have played.
"I don't know, because I cannot imagine how it is in other stadiums, because I have to work, but it is also a fantastic atmosphere, because of the fans of Middlesbrough, but also Manchester United, and they have supported the players fantastically. In spite of the defeat, when we were going to our dressing room, they were applauding. I have said that also last year, once or twice."