‘Van Gaal tells players not to shoot first time’

Date published: Saturday 20th February 2016 12:12

Manchester United’s players are said to be ‘increasingly fed up with Louis van Gaal’s odd tactics’, with The Independent claiming the Dutchman has instructed them not to shoot without taking a touch.

The word ‘exasperated’ is used by Mark Ogden to describe the feelings of players who fear being humiliated in an evaluation session the next day if they shoot first time and miss.

This is reportedly just one of the prescriptive instructions given to United’s players, with retaining possession seen as the ultimate goal.

That means that players must offer at least two options in close proximity to a player in possession of the ball, while full-backs must overlap wide players whenever possible.

But it is the ‘no shooting first time’ instruction which is clearly the most bizarre. If true, it has resulted in United taking just 302 shots in this Premier League season. Twelve clubs – including Bournemouth and Swansea – have taken more shots than United.

“You only have to look at the first goal of the season, when Kyle Walker’s own goal put United ahead against Tottenham,” one source apparently told The Independent. It came from a cross into the penalty area and Wayne Rooney would normally have just passed it into the net, but he took a touch, the ball got away from him and Walker knocked it into the net.

“The manager doesn’t mind if you shoot first time and score, but if you miss it will be highlighted the following day in an evaluation session.”

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