Arsene Wenger jumps to defence of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal

Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal was criticised by Sam Allardyce for deploying long-ball tactics recently.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has jumped to the defence of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, telling the Daily Mail how his so-called long-ball tactic recently was logical.

The Red Devils needed a last minute goal from Daley Blind to rescue a 1-1 draw during their encounter with West Ham United at Upton Park.

After the match, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce criticised his opposite number by claiming his side struggled to deal with United’s physicality and long-ball tactics.

It was perceived as a clear swipe at the Dutchman, and one which sparked a frenzy in the media and a diagrammed response from Van Gaal in a bid to clear himself and his side of such a title.

When quizzed on the events of last weekend, Wenger told reporters that United’s tactics in East London were spot on and conceded that the Gunners have deployed a similar style involving Olivier Giroud.

“I play the game that is most suited to the quality of our players. When you play (Olivier) Giroud sometimes you go a bit longer,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“If you are chasing the game in the last five minutes you do not always want the short ball. I didn't understand what the problem was.

“Manchester United went a bit longer in the final ten minutes and it was completely logical. A team plays naturally to its strong point and an intelligent team knows how to exploit its strong points.

“If they see (Marouane) Fellaini on the pitch the guys at the back will kick it to Fellaini and Rooney or Van Persie can score. That is normal.

“A big club has a responsibility to win and to try to win with style, but first try to win.”


Sam Allardyce’s comments at the end of last weekend’s clash were arguably born out of frustration, though there wasn’t actually that much malice in the content.

Under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson United had a certain philosophy of fast, direct wing-play, yet when things weren’t going his way his teams would often throw the kitchen sink at it late on.

Van Gaal didn’t need to offer an explanation, as his side’s change in tact helped rescue a point when on another day they could have departed East London empty handed.

With a place in the top four and his side suffering just one loss in 15 Premier League matches, there has been a clear over-reaction to recent events and steady progress on the pitch is evident.

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