No regrets on spurning Spurs job: Van Gaal

LONDON • Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said that he had no regrets about not taking the Tottenham Hotspur job after Spurs enhanced their Champions League qualification hopes while damaging United's.

With a 3-0 win in the Premier League on Sunday, the London club stretched the gap between themselves and fifth-placed United to 12 points.

Van Gaal turned down the chance to take over at Spurs before joining United in 2014, subsequently describing the White Hart Lane post as "the easier job". When reminded of his comments in the post-match press conference he branded the question "pathetic".

"In the balance we are still ahead," said the Dutchman. "And you take one match as something that (means) I have to say the challenge is bigger (at Spurs)? The challenge is always bigger in a bigger club.

"I liked also to sign in Tottenham Hotspur and (Spurs chairman) Daniel Levy knows that. The challenge was bigger, for me, in Manchester United and shall always be bigger. I'm sorry for Tottenham, but Manchester United is a bigger club."

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE

The challenge was bigger, for me, in Manchester United and shall always be bigger. I'm sorry for Tottenham, but Manchester United is a bigger club.

LOUIS VAN GAAL, Man United manager, on taking on his current job instead of signing on with Tottenham in 2014.

United fans on social media were baffled by his decision to take off young striker Marcus Rashford at half-time and play winger Ashley Young as a centre-forward at White Hart Lane.

United had restricted Spurs before the break without offering much goal threat, but rather than switch Anthony Martial to a central role, he left the Frenchman wide and played Young out of position.

Young, who last scored almost a year ago, barely got a kick. Spurs, meanwhile, scored three goals in 5min 46sec through Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela.

Van Gaal's other questionable decisions included employing Jesse Lingard, a winger, in the No. 10 role and the slower Juan Mata, a No. 10, on the right - up against the pacy Spurs left-back Danny Rose.

But van Gaal defended his tactics.

"I want more runnings in behind because I think we have chances to do that because they are like us, an attacking side with full backs coming up," he explained. "Ashley Young has done that very good in the second team and Marcus did not have his best match today and that's why I change it."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'No regrets on spurning Spurs job: Van Gaal'. Print Edition | Subscribe