Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United players to cut down on backpasses to David De Gea
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he understands the mounting frustrations of the fans at Old Trafford and suggested his players need to cut out the back passes to the goalkeeper and play with a higher tempo. United may have lost only twice in their last 22 matches, but fans have been unhappy with the team’s unadventurous approach this season.
The feeling was loudly communicated during Sunday’s 2-0 win against Sunderland at Old Trafford. Audible jeers rang out through the stadium when Jonny Evans played a ball back to goalkeeper David De Gea under no obvious pressure when there were other passing options available.
Van Gaal said, “You have to give credit of your doubt to your player and you have to support him. When you make a mistake in defence it is more or less always a goal against. You have to see that also, the fans have to see that.
“But I agree with the fans that we don't have to use so much the goalkeeper, because I have seen also moments where we can play a higher tempo without interfering with the goalkeeper, but the goalkeeper is also the 11th player.
“He can accelerate our game also and sometimes the solution is, via De Gea, to play forward.
“That is a higher tempo than playing the ball to the player next to you as De Gea is always the second station and it is always better to play the second station, in my opinion, than the first station as you need a lot of first stations to come there.”
Possession still paramount for Van Gaal
Van Gaal, however, reiterated the need to be cautious and not give away possession easily. He said: “What we can improve is our unnecessary ball losses. When we can avoid too much ball losses unnecessarily then we make a big step.”
Fourth placed United travel to Newcastle tonight with only three points separating third from sixth in the Premier League table. The Red Devils cannot afford to slip up with the likes of Southampton and Liverpool hot on their heels for a Champions League spot.
The Dutchman also echoed the views of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and agreed that the ‘rat race’ can extend to the final day of the season.
“I don't think of how many points [it will take], but he is more experienced in the Premier League so I want to believe him.
"But it is going to the last week, I know that.”