Manchester United vs Burnley preview: Louis van Gaal denies Manchester United are a long-ball team - with help from diagrams

Manager produced bizarre dossier in press conference

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The Independent Football

The Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, hit back at Sam Allardyce’s claims his side are a long-ball team by brandishing an A4 dossier of statistics yesterday which he believes prove the contrary.

In an unconventional press conference ahead of United’s Premier League match with Burnley tonight the Dutchman took umbrage at the comments made by the West Ham United manager in the wake of the 1-1 draw between the sides on Sunday. Van Gaal waved sheets of paper with diagrams and statistics to rebut Allardyce’s verdict of his United team’s style of play at Upton Park.

“When a colleague of mine is saying this kind of thing, you have to see the data and you have to put the data in the right context,” Van Gaal said. “But when you see overall the long ball [statistics] you see West Ham have played 71 per cent of the long balls to the forwards and we [played] 49 per cent. I give it to you, you can copy it and you can go to Big Sam and he will get a good interpretation.

“We are playing ball possession,” Van Gaal said. “After 70 minutes, we don’t succeed ... and then, with the quality of [Marouane] Fellaini, we played more forward balls. We scored, so [it is] a very good decision of the manager.”

 

Van Gaal has also denied a Football Association charge of misconduct in relation to comments he made to the media about referee Chris Foy after United’s FA Cup tie at Cambridge United last month and has requested a personal hearing. The 63-year-old said after United were held to a goalless draw by the League Two side that “every aspect of a match is against us – the pitch, the referee”.

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