United scraped a last minute 1-1 draw with West Ham last weekend to keep their top four chances intact, although head coach van Gaal came under criticism for resorting to long ball tactics.
Admittedly, they played more long balls than the Hammers during the game, but it was not until the final part of the game - as they were losing 1-0 - that the Red Devils changed from their possession style to the long ball.
And, for all the criticism of van Gaal’s change, United benefitted, as Daley Blind scored a late equaliser and secured a vital point for the Red Devils.
In the aftermath of the game, Allardyce called his opponents ‘long-ball United’, claiming that the Hammers could not cope with their 'thump it forward and see what they could get’ style. Van Gaal responded to this by producing a dossier proving that his side favoured possession over the long ball, and the situation has seemingly grown out of hand due to some tongue-in-cheek comments made by the West Ham boss.
To clarify what he meant with his comments, Allardyce wrote in his Standard column that he was not criticising van Gaal for his long ball football, but was praising the Dutchman for being industrious and creative enough to change things up for the good of his team.
Writing for the London paper, Allardyce said: “Speaking from the experience of years of criticism that teams managed by me alway play the long-ball game, I felt it was right after our match against Manchester United to make the comments I did.
“The fact was I saw United play, for a time against us last weekend, in a way I have never seen them before. It is a tactic he [van Gaal] will use when he thinks fit, the same as any good manager.
“The reality is if you continue to play football one way only and it doesn’t bring you the result you need, the supporters will go home miserable. If, towards the end of the game, you change your style of play, go more direct and draw 1-1 — or even better, win 2-1 — they go home happy.
“The perception that we all have to play a certain type of football is nonsense. It’s akin to football snobbery.”