Louis van Gaal has told Manchester United fans to direct their frustration at him, not his players, while answering criticism of his side’s lack of entertainment.
The United boss has come in for criticism from supporters and some pundits following a run of form that has saw them go 404 minutes without scoring a goal before Wayne Rooney netted a late winner against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Old Trafford crowd vented their frustration at the substitution of striker Anthony Martial for Marouane Fellaini, and Van Gaal says he will accept criticism, as long as it is targeted at him rather than the United players.
“I think the fans have to support the players, otherwise they make it very difficult for the players to play at Old Trafford,” said Van Gaal.
“Until now they were fantastic, so I cannot complaint about the fans. I can only advise the fans to criticise the manager and not the players.
“It’s very difficult to play for Manchester United with a lot of pressure and when you can taste that in Old Trafford because of all the yelling, then it’s not good for all my players.
“It’s better to whistle at the manager. I can cope with it because I have had a lot of experience in it as my life as a manager.”
Van Gaal also hit back at accusation of being too defensive and stifling the creativity of his United side.
“I think we have attacked for 85 minutes of the 90 minutes, so we have given a lot of entertainment and it’s dependable of the goals,” said the Dutchman.
“When the goals are falling much faster, then everybody is happy and when you analyse the games, you know it’s difficult to break down a team that has 10 people playing behind the ball.
“When you have two teams attacking, it’s easier to score goals. That’s why other coaches play these tactics against us, because then we have more difficulties and they are relying always on the counter-attack and they put in the players who are fast.
“But, nevertheless, CSKA tried these tactics. They only created one chance, so I was very happy with our defensive organisation and the way we attacked, because at the end we have won against a very difficult team.
“I didn’t know, but I read up on the history of CSKA Moscow. They played Manchester City last year, at home, and they won 2-0.
“Even in the golden age of Manchester United, they could not win against them. It was 1-3 [at Old Trafford in 2009], then with a lucky end it was 3-3. So we have made history.”