Paul Scholes was once again critical of Manchester United’s style of play under Louis van Gaal ahead of Tuesday’s win over CSKA Moscow.
Scholes, who made more than 700 appearances for United in a hugely successful spell between 1993 and 2013, said last week that the team was “coached to defend” after they were dumped out of the Capital One Cup on penalties by Championship side Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
Speaking before the Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow, Scholes, who is now a pundit for BT Sport, took another swipe at Van Gaal and the current squad.
“I want to sit here and see United blast teams away, be it brilliant attacking football, have players with creativity, have players who get you on the edge of your seat. I want to see that from Manchester United, but it’s not been happening,” he said.
“What you have seen are a team that are brilliantly coached defensively.
“You have (to be defensive) against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid, not Crystal Palace, not Middlesbrough at home or CSKA Moscow at home – or away for that matter.
“Look, these are tough games and I’m not saying these are dummies these teams, they are decent sides, but United fans need to see something.”
Scholes added: “It’s very difficult to coach attractive football.
“I was lucky enough to play with players that you would give them the ball and they can beat five men and ram the ball in the top corner, players who can beat people, quick players, I just don’t see that in this team.
“Whether Van Gaal doesn’t allow them to do that or give them the confidence to do that I just don’t know, it’s just a sideways, possession, boring style of football and you have to say, does he have a problem with forward players?”
Scholes feels the Dutchman was wrong to sell the likes of Angel Di Maria and Javier Hernandez given the club’s current plight.
“Look at the players that have gone, that he has let go,” he went on. “You can talk of (Robin) Van Persie, (Danny) Welbeck, Chicharito (Hernandez), (Adnan) Januzaj, Di Maria, I’d love to see these players at the club now.
“I look at the bench on Saturday, not one centre forward. He brings Ashley Young on and brings him on at right-back. I thought Ashley Young was one of the best players last year, he can beat a man, put great crosses into the box, okay he’s probably not every Manchester United fan’s favourite player, but he tries stuff, he can be creative.”
The 40-year-old also offered support to goal-shy Wayne Rooney, claiming any striker would struggle to score goals given the lack of creativity in the line-up.
“We talk about Rooney, he’s getting all the stick, but…I don’t think anybody would score goals in this team as a centre forward, I think Sergio Aguero would struggle,” he said. “He’s getting nothing from midfield, there’s no wide players, he’s getting no service whatsoever.
“I watched him for the first 20 minutes of the Manchester derby, he’s moving, he’s looking really sharp and the ball is just not coming to him. Eventually you get bored.”
At half-time, with United drawing 0-0 against CSKA, Scholes saw signs of improvement.
“I’ve been really encouraged,” he said. “I think it’s the best I’ve seen of Manchester United as an attacking force.
“I think they are passing the ball really well, (Michael) Carrick has been brilliant passing the ball into the forwards which is what we want.
“Both full-backs have been bombing on, we’ve not seen that all season, the box absolutely full of attacking players, players bursting a lung to get into the box. This is exactly what we want to see.”
United improved after the break and grabbed a winning goal through Rooney.
When asked in the post-match analysis if he thought the instruction to get the ball forward had come from Van Gaal, Scholes said: “I hope it’s come from him.
“United came out from the get-go with the intent to play it forward. It was a lot better and much more like watching Manchester United.
“It could be exciting in the games to come.”
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