Garry Monk backs Louis van Gaal over long-ball row

by Ben Topliss

Swansea City manager Garry Monk has dismissed criticism of Manchester United’s playing style ahead of the meeting between the two sides on Saturday.

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce mocked United after their 1-1 draw earlier this month, saying the Hammers couldn’t “cope with long-ball United.”

The comment prompted Louis van Gaal to hand out a bizarre pamphlet on the subject to journalists. It included statistics such as total long passes and percentage of all passes forward.

Monk thinks United are just varying their tactics and that this is a sign of their quality.

Speaking about United’s playing style, Monk said: ”You can’t just have one set way of playing and Manchester United have done that well this season. Let’s not forget they’ve only lost one of their last 15 league games so they’re very effective whatever way they play. In this game nowadays you have to be adaptable.”

“They can adapt their style for any given moment or period of the game. That was the case against West Ham. I watched that game and I think the long balls I saw were in the last five minutes, which quite rightly they used to their strength with [Marouane] Fellaini in a forward position.

“There’s no problem with that whatsoever. It actually shows good strength that they can be adaptable. Manchester United play fantastic football and they’ve got great, world-class talent all across the pitch and that’s something we have to be wary of.”

It is true that United have employed negative tactics this season but a run of one loss in 19 games has fully vindicated van Gaal’s decision to do so.

This season is all about qualifying for the Champions League for United so van Gaal will continue to set up the team that way as long as it produces results.

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