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Louis van Gaal 'wasting energy' on Manchester United's long ball debate: Ronald Koeman

Utathya Nag
1.85K   //    11 Feb 2015, 15:58 IST
Van Gaal and Koeman have never seen eye-to-eye since their days at Ajax

Southampton Boss Ronald Koeman has decided to come out and join the “long-ball United” debate saying Louis Van Gaal is ‘wasting energy’ in talking about West Ham’s long ball tactic to defend his own. The debate ensued after West Ham boss Sam Allardyce took a dig at Manchester United’s tactics during the 1-1 draw against the Hammers on Sunday. Allardyce called the Red Devils ‘long-ball United’. 

Manchester United coach Van Gaal was quick to come out and refute the allegations by presenting a four-page statistical analysis of how the West Ham boss was wrong in his analysis. The graphic indicated that West Ham played more than 70% of long balls forward compared to United’s less than 50%.

Talking about tactics with the press is a waste of energy: Koeman

Koeman, whose Southampton team hosts West Ham on Wednesday was quick to defend West Ham’s approach.

"I watched the game last Sunday. I think they [West Ham] played very well. Very physically strong. Maybe it depends on whether [Andy] Carroll can start. But they showed without that player they can play good football.

"I think West Ham have always options to play in a different style. What you have to do as a manager is to play with the best of the qualities the players have.

"The most easy way to attack is a long ball, like we do sometimes, we play a long ball to [Graziano] Pelle. That means in one pass you are close to the box of the opponent,” he said.

"I prefer always to play football but sometimes it's a good option if you have a player like Carroll or like Man United has with [Marouane] Fellaini. To do something different to try a different way to score goals.

"If someone says something about the tactics, in my opinion it's losing energy. I need my energy to the players and not to the press," he added.

Koeman is known to have an icy relationship with fellow Dutchman Louis Van Gaal after the two had a falling out while working together at Ajax in 2004.