Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has asked his players not to play as many backpasses to goalkeeper David de Gea as he faces mounting criticism over his side’s unadventurous performances this season.
Despite travelling to Newcastle United on Wednesday in a Champions League spot, United fans booed their team during Saturday’s 2-0 win against Sunderland, most notably when an attacking corner was played all the way back to their Spanish ‘keeper.
Though Van Gaal is keen for supporters to lay off his players, he does admit sharing their frustration at De Gea being over-used as a springboard for attacks.
‘I agree with the fans that we don’t have to use the goalkeeper so much,’ he said. ‘I have seen moments when we could play with a higher tempo without interfering with the goalkeeper.
‘Sometimes the players may not see another solution. But I have to support them. Also, a fan has to see that.
‘Of course, to attack is more or less the English style of playing a match. But I think the supporters have also enjoyed Manchester United playing in a possession game so it is always a mix of playing both. I think we can still improve in not losing the ball unnecessarily.’
United’s run of two defeats in 21 matches has failed to paper over some other cracks.
Their supporters brought up in the successful Sir Alex Ferguson era chanted ‘Attack, attack, attack’ in the first half of their victory at Old Trafford at the weekend.