Dyche defends Van Gaal’s Man United after long-ball claims

by Ben Topliss

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has rejected criticism of Manchester United for being a long-ball team prior to the Premier League meeting between the two sides on Wednesday night.

The debate was triggered by comments from West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce who said his side “couldn’t cope with long ball United” following their 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal responded by handing out a bizarre long-ball dossier during his press conference today but Dyche said it shouldn’t be an issue.

Speaking about the criticism of United, Dyche said: ”I find it incredible, the whole thing.

“I think back to my youth and a player then who was renowned was Glenn Hoddle. Was he renowned for playing five and 10-yard passes? No he wasn’t. Was Ronald Koeman renowned for playing five and 10-yard passes? He was marvelled at.

“I’m looking at Man Utd’s team – I think they’re capable of playing the ball more than five or 10 yards, and probably accurately and probably with some style.

“I’m certainly not questioning whether they’re a long-ball side or not. I think it’s a bizarre debate.”

Van Gaal’s decision to hand out the document was an unusual one but at least it sparked a funny reaction from the club’s press officer.

Included in the pamphlet were statistics such as the percentage of all passes long and long passes directed forward. According to Van Gaal United’s figures were skewed by long sideways passes.

United certainly haven’t produced their best football this season but the team has only lost once in 17 games so the style is certainly grinding out results.

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