I take risks: Van Gaal

A dejected Wayne Rooney walks back after missing his penalty in the shoot-out against Middlesbrough in the League Cup match on Wednesday. The underdogs won 3-1 on penalties.
A dejected Wayne Rooney walks back after missing his penalty in the shoot-out against Middlesbrough in the League Cup match on Wednesday. The underdogs won 3-1 on penalties. PHOTO: REUTERS

Stung by Scholes' criticism of staid tactics, Man Utd boss refutes notion of boring team

LONDON • Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal claimed yesterday he is a risk taker, as he responded to criticism from former midfielder Paul Scholes.

Scholes, who made 718 appearances for the Red Devils, told BBC Radio Manchester that van Gaal's United have "a lack of creativity and risk" and they were "not a team I'd have enjoyed playing in".

United have scored 15 Premier League goals this season, the lowest among the top four, and exited the League Cup to Championship outfit Middlesbrough on Wednesday in a penalty shoot-out after the match finished goalless following extra time.

But van Gaal disagreed with Scholes' interpretation of the way in which his side play.

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"You ask me if I take risks? I always take risks!" he said ahead of United's clash with Crystal Palace.

"I do not agree with his opinion but I don't want to defend myself because I cannot defend, because he is a legend and has a lot of resonance, I hear."

Van Gaal said he can handle the criticism directed towards his United teams as he dismissed suggestions they are boring to watch.

"I think you have a fantastic expression here," he said. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but (words) will never hurt me. Fantastic expression, fantastic.

"I think Manchester United are always entertaining. I don't think there are more spectators in other stadiums than this ground. I shall do everything for this club because... these fans are unbelievable.

"We are improving a lot but when you think it can be done within one year... I have said it is a process and it takes three years. That's why I signed for three years.

"Mr Scholes thinks that I better go. But he is not the man responsible for that. That is the (club owners) Glazers and (executive vice-chairman) Mr (Ed) Woodward."

Van Gaal revealed that right-back Antonio Valencia, striker James Wilson and forward Memphis Depay are all doubtful for the trip to Selhurst Park through injury.

Valencia picked up a foot problem in last Sunday's Manchester derby and did not feature against Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Wilson made his first start of the season in midweek but left the action for Wayne Rooney at half-time, while Depay played for 71 minutes until he was replaced by Anthony Martial.

Van Gaal has to decide whether to persist with the unproductive Rooney as a lone forward or bring in Martial from a wide to central position. Rooney has only two goals in nine league games this term.

Palace have been one of the division's outstanding sides during the opening weeks of the season.

They remain seventh despite suffering back-to-back league defeats by West Ham United and Leicester City, yet the sense they are entering a testing period of the campaign was reinforced by the 5-1 midweek loss to Manchester City in the League Cup.

And a run of injuries to key players will test the manager's confidence.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'I TAKE RISKS: VAN GAAL'. Print Edition | Subscribe