Van Gaal’s response to Scholes lacks comprehension

Louis van Gaal is an unpredictable, complex character normally unafraid to go hammer and tongs into any debate. However this time around he was more measured.

We’ve seen that throughout his career at Ajax, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich. Anywhere he went an array of incidents occurred with Van Gaal never being one to avoid controversy.

Unsurprisingly the Dutchman disagreed with recent comments made by Paul Scholes, suggesting the current Manchester United side is not one of which he would want to be part due to its risk aversion and lack of imagination.

“I think the hardest thing to do is to coach scoring goals, creativity and to have players who are off the cuff,” Scholes told BBC Radio Manchester.

“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 [Van Gaal] doesn’t want players to beat men and score goals – it’s not a team I would have enjoyed playing in.

“The style is not something that Sir Alex Ferguson would have adhered to.”

Van Gaal is not going to turn around and say ‘Yeah, I play dull football, fuckin’ deal with it.’ Well, actually, given the fact he portrays the image of someone that doesn’t give a damn what others think, he probably would for shits n’giggles.


Yet regardless of their disagreement the United manager referred to Scholes as a legend. Take it in a smarmy manner if you wish but that would be completely out of context. LvG’s courtesy is all the more surprising given this isn’t the first time the Ginger Prince has had something negative to say about the new United boss.

The 64-year-old defended the style of his team, insisting that they do take risks.

“No, now you are agreeing with Paul Scholes’s opinion; I always take risks. I always use Dutch expression, but you have a fantastic expression for that ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but names [words] will never hurt me’.”

“Fantastic, fantastic expression. You do understand the meaning of this?

“He [Scholes] doesn’t have the responsibility so he can say everything. Why is he saying something? Because of the benefit of the club or for the benefit for him? He is a legend and he has a lot of resonance I have heard. I know when we shall lose and lose I shall be finished – but I will do everything for this club because of the fans, who are unbelievable.”

The manager also commented on the way in which these comments were made. Broadcasted to a live audience and not privately to Scholes’ former team-mate Ryan Giggs, or Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman.

“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. When Scholes thinks I should go, then I go. But he is not a responsible man, he is not the Glazers or Ed Woodward.”

So maybe words do hurt after all. Fair, although discretion is surely asking a bit much of Scholes in his role as a pundit. When people tune in to hear current or former footballers analyse situations they want honesty. What is the point in going on air and not saying it how you see it? Roy Keane gets endless shit for speaking his mind but he makes for great entertainment whether or not you agree.


Next up is Van Gaal’s lack of comprehension.

“I think Manchester United is always entertaining and I read also in the papers and I see that it is ‘boring,’ but I don’t think there are more spectators in another stadium than in this ground.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere because of the fans of Middlesbrough but also of the fans of Manchester United. They have supported the players fantastically and in spite of the defeat, also when we are going to our dressing room, they were applauding.

“I think when you come to the match and you see the way we have played and you see also the way Middlesbrough has played, also in a fantastic way, it was a close game.

“The second half was better than the first and extra time was also exciting and penalties are always exciting. For us it was not so nice but I think the fans had enjoyed it. If we had scored, then nothing happens but now because we are out of the cup, it is always like that.”

Even as an admirer of the Dutchman, the football we’re being subject to is not very entertaining. Sadly, anyone telling you otherwise is in denial. Attendance and standing ovations, on the other hand, are irrelevant in this argument. United fans proved under Moyes that no matter what shit is put in front of them they will attend games and get behind their team.

Tactically Van Gaal could take more risks to get us off our seats more often. Saying it how you see it doesn’t mean you’re against the man or want him out. We’re still very much behind him but a more adventurous brand of football would go down well.

More Stories David Moyes Louis van Gaal Manchester United Paul Scholes


  1. Well said sir! I had a similar argument, except it was less gentleman like, haha. He gets the impression that just because the stadium is always full, supporting and applauding our team, means that we are enjoying of how we are playing, which is really not true. I don’t understand how he thinks we enjoyed the game against Middlesborough, when we couldn’t score for 120 minutes and alot of it was rather dull and shameful penalty taking. He’s so stubborn that he thinks his way of play is always entertaining. Not true at all. Just because we get behind the team, doesn’t mean we are enjoying it, we just want them to get moving and be more adventurous. Also afterwards of Middlesborough. It was applauding in a sense that we stick by our team through thick and thin, not “That was a great performance, well done lads and LVG” I’m not his biggest fan atm, by any stretch, but we have done pretty well in results wise overall this season and our performance against Everton was very encouraging and our best of the season. I don’t think he’s going to change our style, especially if you chant “Louis Van Gaal’s red white army” That will just encourage him to stick with his unimaginative philosophy. I’m all for getting behind the team, but not so much in LVG right now, especially his incomprehensible trust in Rooney, who will probably start, but hopefully behind Martial. I prefer he dropped to the bench for Herrera personally.

  2. LvG is clearly getting agitated by the fact that Scholes keeps hitting him were it hurts. It’s obvious he also wants his charges to play exciting football, but it’s difficult for the studious mind to see how United’s overcautious approach can amount to anything exciting at the moment.
    While a cautious approach in the defensive and midfield thirds should be the norm, taking risks in the final third should be encouraged. Which bags the question: Does van Gaal have the personnel to play that type of football? If we can remember well, he’s been crying out for speedy creative players that can cause havoc in the final third – and got only Martial. Other than Martial, there really isn’t anyone who can create breathtaking moments in attack. So perhaps we should spare a thought for the Dutch legend – he is trying to make the best of what he has at his disposal, with one eye firmly on how he ultimately wants his team to play – when he will eventually have the type of attacking players he wants to deploy in his system. His trial and error method of recruitment, though costly, doesn’t seem to hurt United’s deep pockets and we can expect to see more signings come January.

    The man is asking for patience from fans and critics alike, which he can’t bank on getting for very long at a club of United’s stature, especially if result go against him. For him, it’s a work in progress that he expects to see come full circle in his third year in the hot seat.

  3. I agree more with Quinton than Christopher. Our problem has a lot to do with the personel that we have.
    Like Quinton said LVG has talked about pacey players upfront, apart from Anthony, the rest just pass the ball, Herera, good player yes, but 60% of his passes go backwards, 50% of our passes as a team go backwards 10% sidewards, it is boring yes, but its down to players that do not know how to run at opponents.
    Depay has pace, but he seems to have reserved it for F1, I prefer Young, he is Pacey and Tricky on the ball.
    So yes our play is boring but its down to the type of players we have much more than heaping it on LVG

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