Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has attacked manager Louis van Gaal for creating a team "brilliantly coached to defend" but unenjoyable to play for. The former creative midfielder believes the defensive methods of the Dutch boss are to blame for Wayne Rooney's struggles in front of goal as even the likes of "Ruud van Nistelrooy, Teddy Sheringham or Andy Cole" would find it difficult in the current system.
The Premier League giants were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Middlesbrough on penalties on 28 October after being unable to score a goal against Aitor Karanka's side during normal time and and extra time. The elimination by the Championship side came just days after a dire goalless draw in the Manchester derby despite playing at home against a side without David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
"The style is not something that Sir Alex Ferguson would have adhered to," Scholes said, as quoted by the BBC. "I actually think the team is brilliantly coached to defend. I think the hardest thing to do is to coach scoring goals, creativity and to have players who are off the cuff.
"It's a team you wouldn't want to play against and its probably a team you wouldn't want to play in either. There's a lack of risk and creativity. It seems he doesn't want players to beat men and score goals – it's not a team I would have enjoyed playing in."
Scholes' former teammate, United captain Rooney, has been under scrutiny for his lack of goals, having netted just two in nine Premier League appearances and one in the previous round of the League Cup against Ipswich Town. The England international failed to respond to the critics against Middlesbrough as he missed a penalty in the shoot-out to continue the misery.
But Scholes said: "I was at the Manchester derby and I watched him [Rooney] for the first 20 minutes. His movement was brilliant but when he's playing in that team, there's nobody prepared to pass to him. You'd be tearing your hair out.
"Ruud van Nistelrooy, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole couldn't play in this team. You don't get crosses in the box, midfielders looking for runs. I think its a very difficult team to be a centre forward in."