Prickly Van Gaal takes Allardyce to task over United long-ball jibes

Frank Dalleres
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Van Gaal bristled at claims his United team used long-ball tactics at West Ham on Sunday
MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal has hit back at West Ham boss Sam Allardyce’s long-ball taunts and insists he has statistical evidence that the Hammers are a more route one team.

Van Gaal took the unusual step of producing four sheets of diagrams and tables at a press conference yesterday and urged reporters to present them to Allardyce, whose team drew 1-1 with United on Sunday.

The Dutchman argued that the numbers backed up his assertion that while United did use long passes, they tended to be sideways or diagonal while West Ham’s were more direct.

“I have made an interpretation of the data for this game and I have to say that it is not a good interpretation from Big Sam,” Van Gaal said.

“We are playing ball possession play and after 70 minutes we did not succeed, in spite of many chances in the second half. Then I changed my playing style. We played more forward balls and we scored from that, so I think it was a very good decision of the manager.

“But, when you see overall the long ball, and what is the percentage of that, then West Ham have played 71 per cent of the long balls to the forwards and we 49.”

While a greater percentage of the Hammers’ long passes were directed forwards than of United’s, Van Gaal’s men made more forward long passes (41) than West Ham (32).