I’m a risk-taker: United boss van Gaal on Paul Scholes’ criticism

  • AFP, Manchester
  • Updated: Oct 31, 2015 16:26 IST
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal waves to fans before the League Cup match against Middlesbrough on October 28, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Manchester United’s Dutch manager Louis van Gaal responded to criticism from former midfielder Paul Scholes, claiming on Friday that he is a risk taker.

Scholes, who made 718 appearances for the Red Devils, told BBC Radio Manchester that van Gaal’s United side have “a lack of creativity and risk” and it was “not a team I’d have enjoyed playing in”.

United have scored 15 Premier League goals this season, the lowest among the top four, and exited the Capital One Cup to Championship outfit Middlesbrough on Wednesday in a penalty shootout after the match finished goalless following extra time.

But van Gaal disagreed with Scholes’ interpretation of the way in which his side play. “You ask me if I take risks? I take always risks!” Van Gaal said, ahead of United’s clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday. “I am not agreed with his opinion but I don’t want to defend myself because I cannot defend, because he is a legend and has a lot of resonance I hear.

“So I think when you are a legend you have to speak with the manager, or with his friend Ryan Giggs, or has to speak with Ed Woodward.

Van Gaal said he can handle the criticism directed towards his United teams as he dismissed suggestions they are boring to watch. “I think you have a fantastic expression here,” Van Gaal said. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Fantastic expression, fantastic.

“I think Manchester United is always entertaining and I read also in the papers and I see it is boring but I don’t think there are more spectators in other stadiums than this ground. I shall do everything for this club because I think with these fans, I have said many times, these fans are unbelievable.

“We are improving at lot but when you think it can be done within one year I have said it is a process and it takes three years. That’s why I signed here three years. But when Mr Scholes thinks I can better go, then I go. But he is not the man responsible for that. That is the Glazers and Mr Woodward.”

Van Gaal also revealed that right-back Antonio Valencia, striker James Wilson and forward Memphis Depay are all doubtful for the trip to Selhurst Park through injury.

Valencia picked up a foot problem during last Sunday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford and did not feature against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Wilson made his first start of the season in midweek but left the action for Wayne Rooney at half-time, while Memphis played for 71 minutes until he was replaced by Anthony Martial.

“Wilson was injured but also Memphis Depay was injured,” van Gaal explained.

“It was a very bad game afterwards because we lost on penalties and also we lost two players. We have to wait and see how long they are unavailable for because it was only two days ago.”

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