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Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal admits he is bored with his side's style

Louis van Gaal admits he has, at times, shared the boredom of some of Manchester United's supporters and critics as he struggles to lift the entertainment factor at Old Trafford.

United's creative problems were laid bare as they needed an injury-time penalty to overcome League One side Sheffield United in their third-round FA Cup tie last Saturday, a 10th successive home game in which Van Gaal's side had failed to score a first-half goal.

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Paul Scholes, the former United and England midfielder, was damning in his assessment of the performance, saying in his role as a BT Sport pundit that the players and Van Gaal himself looked bored as they laboured to a second successive home victory.

United's manager did not deny feeling that emotion at times during a season which is increasingly testing the patience of United's supporters, who cheered sarcastically when substitute Memphis Depay attempted a long-overdue shot on target and who had left Old Trafford in their droves by the time Wayne Rooney scored his penalty - possibly to avoid the traffic, said Van Gaal.

Tough gig: Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, left, and his assistant Ryan Giggs.
Tough gig: Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, left, and his assistant Ryan Giggs. Photo: AP

The Dutchman, who takes his side to struggling Newcastle United on Tuesday (Wednesday morning AEDT), said: "There are matches that I have enjoyed very much. Against Chelsea I have enjoyed it but the result was 0-0 and we could have lost.

"There are also matches where I'm very bored or angry because we are not disorganising our opponent's defence, but that is football.

"It's not every match that every club is playing fantastically, football that attracts the people. But that is also why the fans are coming. They can criticise but they can also cheer the players.

"They have been ironic [against Sheffield United], but that's also an expression of the fans and that's good. Also the players were frustrated and the fans are frustrated. You have to know that as a player, as a manager and the fans that we can't always play fantastic football and that was also the case in former days when it didn't happen. I'm sorry about that but it is like that."

Scholes's latest verdict on United cannot have made comfortable viewing for friend, business colleague and former team-mate Ryan Giggs, United's assistant manager.

But Van Gaal insists he and Giggs, one of the great entertainers in Sir Alex Ferguson's multiple Premier League-title winning sides, are singing off the same hymn sheet in their desire for United to combine winning with more adventurous football.

Van Gaal, who questioned the value of coming to the touchline to try to influence performances in a way Ferguson occasionally used to do, said: "That I want also, so that is not a difference. He has a lot of influence in our decisions because I communicate every decision with my staff. I work in a fantastic way with Ryan but when you want to hear something about his feelings according to what Paul Scholes or Gary Neville are saying, you have to ask him.

"Our difficulty is not our defensive organisation - that you can see. But the stats in the attacking direction are not so good so we have to improve that part, especially in the third and fourth phase."

Van Gaal's claim that United fans "have to be happy" after winning successive games following an eight-match winless run must be stretching it but victory at St James' Park would lift them level on points with Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place in the Premier League.

Depay may get a start, while Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard also offer attacking wide options if Van Gaal opts to be positive, but a possible comeback for Adnan Januzaj still looks some way off after the forward was not included in United's under-21 side last night. Januzaj was expected to play at Reading after cutting short his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund but Van Gaal believes he needs more training.

The Telegraph, London

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