Guus Hiddink believes Manchester United’s style of play has come in for criticism because supporters in England like to see quick, forward passes.
Louis van Gaal’s approach has repeatedly come under scrutiny this season – and Hiddink can see why.
“You must not overrate the percentage of possession,” the Chelsea boss said.
“Say we had 65, 67 and 70 per cent possession, but there were opponents who said ‘we don’t care how much possession you have, we have the score on our side’.
“It’s what you do with possession. Most teams want to have the ball, but what do you do with the ball?
“Do you secure your way of playing? Or do you go as soon as possible into the attack? The latter option I prefer.
“I think the first thought must be vertical. Diagonal or vertical.”
United have toiled in attack this season with supporters urging their players to attack, but Hiddink, who succeeded Jose Mourinho in December, says Chelsea did until recently too.
“(Supporters) like to see – also what we like to see – more goals,” Hiddink added.
“They like to see also more play in the box. But we had the same problem weeks ago.
“There are not many exceptions. We like to see very attractive teams, when you are passionate about football.”
Fans won’t allow possession without product
Hiddink says merely keeping the ball is not enough in England, where the speed of the game has survived the influx and influence of foreign coaches.
“When possession is there, (to) just play possession in your back four with a goalie and you play wide without having any intention to go vertical, this is a country which doesn’t allow that,” Hiddink added.
“It’s nice. It also showed the influence of a manager is there, but the culture of English football is there.
“If managers want to break that down, the public and everyone doesn’t accept that.
“Of course, the manager determines and does a lot and shows the way. But in the end players probably decide what to do.
“The managers are important, but if we like, in England, the pace of the games and the fight, box to box, that’s a style which is for England.
“That’s why this league is very important. There’s no moment you have to wake up your neighbour while he is sleeping.
“Influence of coaches is limited to that extent.”