Louis van Gaal’s tactics against Arsenal led to Santi Cazorla treating Bastian Schweinsteiger ‘like a dog’, says Gary Neville.
Schweinsteiger was pushed into a less familiar advanced pressing role against Arsenal, with Van Gaal’s tactics widely criticised after Manchester United fell to a 3-0 defeat a fortnight ago.
Neville says the Dutchman got it horribly wrong against Arsenal, with Cazorla “toying with” Schweinsteiger and treating him ‘like a dog’ at the Emirates.
However, former United right-back Neville believes Van Gaal learnt quickly from his mistakes, culminating in “a perfect away performance” against Everton in their 3-0 win last time out.
“Against Arsenal, for some reason, and I don’t know why, it was like, has Schweinsteiger gone rogue?’ said Neville on Sky’s Monday Night Football.
“But the more you watch the clips back, you think it must have been a tactic.
“In this game they got concerned about Cazorla. And Cazorla, he had him on a lead. It was like a man with a ball saying to a dog ‘come to get it off me, come to get it off me’, and as soon as he gets near him, he throws it off to Mertesacker.
“It’s like ‘Come on, come on doggie’. He’s toying with him, Cazorla.
Discussing United’s comfortable win over Everton, Neville added: “The contrast on Saturday was absolutely dramatic. It was a case of Manchester United being patient, compact. It was a completely different thing to that Arsenal game.
“I’m sure Van Gaal, when he think about the Arsenal game, will think, ‘if we’d done this, would it have been different’, even though Arsenal played brilliantly well.
“It culminated in United dominating the game. It was typical of how an away team would create a perfect away performance.
“Against Arsenal it was a complete blip, in terms of the tactics.”