Former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton believes Manchester United are “obsessed” with possession and finding the “perfect pass”.
Man United earned a sixth-round FA Cup replay against West Ham United on Sunday when Anthony Martial scored late on to cancel out Dimitri Payet’s free-kick.
United enjoyed good periods of possession at Old Trafford but their lack of penetration was glaring. Barton criticised Louis van Gaal’s side while watching the game:
Man Utd obsessed with the perfect pass. The minute details. Possession. IMO they lack penetration and the ability to play mixed football ATM
— Joey Barton???? (@Joey7Barton) March 13, 2016
All the great United teams down the years have followed a similar template in terms of their playing style.
They have played quick, attacking football, with exciting wingers providing service to clinical centre-forwards.
Van Gaal has systematically abolished this identity since taking charge in 2014. Instead, controlled, slow possession is the order of the day. It is predictable and boring and has no place inside Old Trafford. It will be remarkable if the Dutchman is still in charge at the start of the next campaign.