Paul Scholes says Manchester United’s players looked bored in their FA Cup win over Sheffield United – but reckons Louis van Gaal will be happy anyway.
Scholes has been critical of United’s style of play under the Dutchman before and pulled no punches on Saturday after his former club’s 1-0 victory over the Blades.
United needed a stoppage-time Wayne Rooney penalty to overcome the League One side after producing another drab display that saw droves of home fans leave before the final whistle at Old Trafford.
Scholes said: “The players looked bored themselves. There’s no spirit, there’s nobody having a go at each other, there’s no smiling, there’s no entertainment. I think even Van Gaal on the bench looks bored, but he’ll come out and say he’s happy.
“It wasn’t a great performance, will he (Van Gaal) be happy with it? I think he probably will be. I think that’s the way he likes to play football.”
Scholes added on BT Sport: “We haven’t seen anything different now for the last six months, that’s the way this team plays football and he’ll be happy with the 1-0 win.
“We don’t see anything else, and he constantly comes out and says he’s happy with his team, he’s happy with the way they’ve played. But they didn’t create a chance, had to win a game against a League One side with a penalty in the 94th minute. In my eyes it’s not good enough.”
Scholes: Players must also take responsibility
Scholes feels there are too many “square pegs in round holes” in United’s line-ups under Van Gaal, citing the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial as players who are not being utilised in their best positions.
But he also believes United’s players also need to do more to help the situation themselves.
He said: “As players sometimes you have to lift the crowd, whether it’s a tackle, whether it’s a shot on goal. You need to make something happen as a footballer at this club.
“To just to go through the motions like they did, people need digging out sometimes, it just seems to be accepted.
“I’d be depressed (after that game). It would take me two or three days to get over that performance.
“You’ve just seen 90 minutes of boring, defensive….I’ve tried to defend this team now for the last two or three weeks, it’s getting more and more difficult to do it because every time you come to Old Trafford this is what you see; negative football.
“I see square pegs in round holes with players in the team. There’s so many question marks over the team.
“The only thing I can say is I’m glad I don’t have to go to Sheffield a week on Tuesday.”
Scholes doesn’t want Van Gaal sacked
Scholes did not go as far as to suggest United need to get rid of Van Gaal, but he believes a change in approach needs to be taken with regards to tactics.
He said: “(It’s) time for a change in style of football, pass the ball to Wayne Rooney! I think he had 34 touches today in the whole game. This is Wayne Rooney, get the ball to your best players.
“I truly believe he (Van Gaal) will be happy with that performance, but I’m not and I don’t think there’s many fans here (who will be). How can you possibly be happy with that against a League One team?”
The ex-England man added: “I’d never call for a manager to be sacked. He’s got some really good players there. His style of football is not suited to Manchester United’s football, but he’s going to argue that they’ve got through, they are fifth in the Premier League and only nine points off the top. And he has got a case for that, but I think fans would rather see a bit more excitement rather than be in those positions.”
Hargreaves: Sheffield United unlucky
Owen Hargreaves, another former United midfielder, added: “The performance wasn’t what they expected but they got the performance they needed.
“It was a really poor performance from Manchester United, lacking in attacking intent and Sheffield United were very unlucky not to get a replay.
“I think they’ll all be disappointed, they only positive was the result. Only two shots on target, I think everyone will realise that’s not good enough.”