Man United have a Premier League high 442 back-passes so far this season and against Sunderland at the weekend, Jonny Evans’ pass back to De Gea seconds after a corner had been taken was met with a chorus of jeers from frustrated fans inside Old Trafford.
Although van Gaal wants United to play a possession based game, he is keen for his players to play with a higher tempo further up the field rather than resorting to a back pas.
“You have to see at that moment the solution for the players,” said Van Gaal.
“Sometimes the solution is to play back and sometimes there might be another solution the player has not seen. You have to give the (benefit) of the doubt to the player and you have to support him because when you make a mistake in defence, it is normally always a goal against us.
“As a fan, you have to see that. But I agree with the fans that we don’t have to use the goalkeeper so much because I have seen we can play with a higher tempo without interfering with the goalkeeper.
“Also, the goalkeeper is the eleventh player and he can accelerate our game. Sometimes the solution is via de Gea to play forward.
“Of course, attack is more or less the English style, but I think they (the fans) have enjoyed Manchester United playing in a possession game. It is always a mix of playing both.
“What I think is we can improve our unnecessary ball losses. When we stop losing the ball unnecessarily, then we will make a big step.”
From the stands inside Old Trafford against Sunderland, you could see the amount of opportunities United’s players chose to ignore by taking a safer option. While it is sometimes right to do that, van Gaal clearly isn’t happy with the balance of risk taking at the moment and so he shouldn’t be.
United have the players to damage any team in the league but just haven’t clicked so far this season in terms of balancing defensive stability with attacking threat. Having publicly made his feelings clear now, van Gaal will be hoping for an improved overall performance.