Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha says he was “set up to fail” in his time working under Louis van Gaal at Man Utd.
Zaha sealed a £10m move to Man Utd in January 2013 from Crystal Palace before staying at Selhurst Park for the remainder of the season.
The Ivory Coast international spent two years under David Moyes and Van Gaal at Man Utd before re-signing for Palace after an unsuccessful spell.
After receiving little playing time under Moyes, he had a short loan spell with Cardiff City in 2014, before returning to work under new boss Van Gaal.
And things didn’t work out much better under the Dutchman, as Zaha explained to On The Judy podcast: “I went back to United after that and it was Louis van Gaal by then. When he came, it was after the World Cup where he played Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben up front [for the Netherlands national team].
“He gave me two options: you’re either a wing-back or a striker. Those are positions I’d never played before, it was like I’m being set up to fail.
“This was after coming back from the David Moyes era and I was just shattered with how everything didn’t work out for me. Then I go back, I get ‘either you’re a striker or a wing-back’ – and I couldn’t do either.
“I can vary my game now. With years of playing you get experience. You’ve seen me play up front for Palace these days. Back then I wasn’t good with my back to goal because I didn’t have the awareness. I’d stand on the ball and the defender would poke it away. I wasn’t good with that.”
He added: “I remember I had to play striker in pre-season. We were playing teams like Inter, I had to play against [Nemanja] Vidic. We played against Real Madrid, I’m playing against Pepe and [Sergio] Ramos up front.
“It was like, ‘this guy is boying me’. Bro, I’m being thrown in the deep end against the maddest teams.”