“It is fake news to claim that Solskjaer brought entertaining football back to Old Trafford” – Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal has ridiculed suggestions that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has brought attacking football back to Manchester United and says he is just as defensive as Jose Mourinho.
The Norwegian coach has won 14 of his 19 matches in charge of the Red Devils since replacing Mourinho in December, scoring more goals and overseeing a number of thrilling matches – notably in the Champions League against PSG.
But Van Gaal says it is ‘fake news’ to claim Solskjaer has brought more entertaining football to Old Trafford, with his style of play virtually identical to Mourinho’s – barring the results.
‘People think we have only had fake news since Donald Trump became president. In football we have had it for 50 years,’ Van Gaal told the BBC in an exhaustive interview.
‘The coach after me [Mourinho] changed to park-the-bus tactics and played on the counter. Now there is another coach who parks the bus and plays on the counter.
‘The main difference between Mourinho and Solskjaer is that Solskjaer is winning. ‘I am not there but there does look to be a change and the atmosphere seems to be better. It is also true that Solskjaer has changed Paul Pogba’s position and put him into an area where he is much more important.
‘But the way Manchester United are playing now is not the way Ferguson played. It is defensive, counter-attacking football. If you like it, you like it.
If you think it is more exciting than my boring attacking, OK. But it is not my truth. ‘Solskjaer has just lost twice and he has to manage that. It is very important that Manchester United qualifies for the Champions League, as it was when I was manager.
‘But they can also win the Champions League because they play a defensive system and it is very difficult to beat them, which, whether you like it or not, is the result of Mourinho’s work.’