Van Gaal calls on United fans not to be influenced by Scholes
LOUIS VAN GAAL called on Manchester United fans to make their own opinions about their football team, rather than be influenced by critics like Paul Scholes.
United maintained their grip on fourth place on Saturday when they beat 10-man West Brom 2-0 thanks to goals from Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata. Unlike earlier in the week, when United laboured to a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow, there was little dissent among the home support towards Van Gaal and his team.
During the Champions League encounter at Old Trafford, Van Gaal's decision to substitute Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini was roundly booed and chants calling on the team to attack were heard throughout. Only on one occasion did the home fans chant "attack, attack, attack" at Old Trafford on Saturday, which came as a relief to Van Gaal.
The Dutchman believes supporters must not automatically fall into line with Scholes' opinion - aired earlier this week - that United are boring: "I was pleased how they reacted against CSKA Moscow because you have to accept that fans have their own opinion, but I think they were very influenced by Paul Scholes and all the criticism and what the media has written about that and then you to have to analyse the game also against CSKA Moscow," the United manager said.
"And when you are yelling 'attack, attack, attack' when you are 85 minutes attack, then you have to think by yourself as a fan: 'hey, is it alright to yell?' but they want to let them know that we have to score. Of course, my mother knows that and my grandmother knows that."
The day after five of the club's most famous academy graduates enjoyed success with Salford City, another of United's youth products stole the show at Old Trafford. Lingard, who has been at the club since he was seven, deservedly won the man of the match award for his attacking display down the left.
The 22-year-old from Warrington was a thorn in Albion's side all afternoon and finally got the goal he deserved - his first for the club - seven minutes after the restart. The England U21 international cushioned Chris Brunt's poor clearance and took another touch before curling the ball into the far corner in front of the Stretford End.
"I put him in the line-up in the first game against Swansea City last season at home because he had impressed me already, but then he had a very heavy injury in that game, so he needed to rehabilitate and that takes a long time," Van Gaal said.
"But I said in the beginning of the season I wanted to keep him and he had to wait for the moment that he was in better shape than his companions for the same position and, since then, he is playing, I think he is playing very well."
United rounded off the win in injury time when Gareth McAuley was sent-off for bringing down Martial after he had been played through by Ander Herrera. Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Mata converted the penalty to give United an important victory.
As well as keeping them in fourth place, Van Gaal believes other teams will think twice about parking the bus at Old Trafford now they have seen United dismantle a very rigid and defensive West Brom side.
"It is good we have won because the next manager shall not choose so easily this strategy," he said.
It could have been a day to forget for Van Gaal had Saido Berahino not wasted a free header less than two minutes after he came off the bench. Tony Pulis refused to criticise the striker, however.
"If you need a gilt-edged chance to drop to anyone, you hope it will be Saido," he said.
On McAuley's red card, the West Brom manager said: "It is difficult. With a couple of minutes to go, he might look at it but the letter of the law says he is last man so he has to send him off."