Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has dismissed former player Paul Scholes’ criticism of his team’s playing style, saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names never hurt me”.
The former United midfielder had said he would not enjoy playing under the Dutchman and delivered a scathing assessment of the team’s lack of creativity and emphasis on defensive organisation after their League Cup exit at the hands of second tier Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
Speaking at his pre-match news conference before Saturday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, Van Gaal told the media that Scholes could say what he wanted because he did not have “responsibility” and questioned the motives of the midfielder, who works as a TV pundit.
“Why is he saying something — because of the benefit of the club or the benefit of himself?” the Dutchman asked.
“I always take risks, so I don’t agree with his (Scholes’) opinion. But I don’t want to defend myself. I cannot defend because he is a legend.
“I think when you are a legend you should speak with the manager, (with) his friend Ryan Giggs … or he has to speak with (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward, but not because he shall be paid by the BBC or by Sky.
“It is not important. I know when we lose and lose and lose I shall be finished. I know that.
“But we are improving. We now have 20 points from 10 games. Last year it was 13. We are in the Champions League. Last year we had 15 injuries. This year we have three. It can’t be done in one year, it takes three years.
“If Mr Scholes thinks I go … Mr Scholes is not the responsible man. That is the Glazers and Mr Woodward.”
Van Gaal could be without the services of Memphis Depay and James Wilson, who picked up injuries in the midweek clash with Middlesbrough, while Antonio Valencia and Paddy McNair have been ruled out.