Football

Kanchelskis slams van Gaal's style of football

He was part of the so-called "Golden Generation" under Sir Alex Ferguson, winning titles and trophies with a swashbuckling style of football that won over many admirers.

During a four-year stint at Old Trafford from 1991 to 1995, Andrei Kanchelskis scored 48 goals in 145 appearances for the Red Devils.

The Russian winger was a revelation under Ferguson, thriving on the right wing under the former United boss' 
4-4-2 formation, which has been institutionalised into the United system.

Now 45, Kanchelskis has been following United's fortunes of late and he was hardly impressed with what he has witnessed, saying that his former teammates such as Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, Peter Schmeichel and Paul Ince would be "tearing their hair out" watching the style of football that new manager Louis van Gaal is trying to instil at the club.

The former Old Trafford star launched a blistering attack on van Gaal in the Sunday People, telling the Dutchman: "You'll never win the Premier League in 10 years!"

United bounced back to winning ways on Saturday when they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0, but it was the 1-0 defeat by Southampton two weekends ago, in which the 20-time EPL champions had zero shots on target, which earned the ire of Kanchelskis.

The Russian watched the match at Old Trafford with former boss Ferguson and said that the Scot was also "gutted" by what he saw from the Red Devils' current side.

Kanchelskis said: "With Louis van Gaal in charge, they (Man United) will not become champions for another 10 years."

Echoing the words of MirrorFootball columnist and former United youth player Robbie Savage, the flamboyant Russian added: "I don't understand the type of football he is instilling into his players.

"I don't fancy their chances with him in charge - they aren't going to compete with Chelsea and Manchester City.

"They looked awful (against Southampton). Seventy-five thousand people came to the stadium to watch, but they were an embarrassment. I felt sorry for the fans.

"He may be able to solve some of the problems by changing his personnel but, on the whole, I don't fancy my old team's prospects with him in charge.''

Kanchelskis, who won the league and FA Cup Double at United in 1994 under Fergie, sat chatting with the Scot for 40 minutes before and after the game and revealed: "Afterwards, he was very upset. United's players from 1993 - the likes of Paul Ince, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, Peter Schmeichel, Ryan Giggs - would be tearing their hair out."

The travelling United fans were also tearing their hair out at Loftus Road on Saturday as the Red Devils struggled to break down an organised QPR side, before a change in formation transformed a tepid performance into a 2-0 win for the Red Devils.

The Dutchman has employed a 3-5-2 formation, with which he guided Holland to third place at last year's World Cup, since taking over at Old Trafford in the close season.

INDIFFERENT

But an indifferent start for the 20-time English champions has been punctuated by defensive frailties and a lack of creative flair as the players struggled to adapt to the new system.

Van Gaal sent United into action in an unorthodox 3-3-2-2 formation that struggling QPR were still able to pick apart regularly in the first half. Angel di Maria started up front alongside Radamel Falcao, but United were unable to gain control.

United supporters made their feelings known about van Gaal's tactics, chanting "attack, attack, attack" and "4-4-2".

The manager changed the team's shape at the interval, which brought a greater attacking impetus from the visitors and goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson were enough to secure victory.

Van Gaal, though, said that he has no plans for a permanent switch to 4-4-2 as he tries to strike the right balance for his fourth-placed team.

"I know in advance that when we play with four midfielders in a diamond that we create more chances, but then, the balance of the team is also weak," he said. "And you've seen it because we had created chances but so had QPR.

"We have to decide every week how we have to play. And that's the question.

"But, also with the other system we played against Tottenham Hotspur, maybe you remember the first half we created maybe six or seven more chances than today, and we didn't score.

"So it's always the question, are you effective enough?

"Against Southampton away, we scored two out of three chances and we won the game.

"But it was not because we were the better team at that time.

"Last week (against Southampton at Old Trafford), we were the better team but, in football, it is not always the better team who win.

"In the first half (on Saturday), we played like QPR wanted. We did the same thing as QPR, playing through the air, long balls, and QPR were better.

"In the second half, we changed the shape and that helped also."

- Wire Services.

Van Gaal: Falcao did well

FAVOURITE: A fan taking a selfie with Louis van Gaal (right), who praised striker Falcao's display despite the latter missing a host of chances. PHOTO: JOHN SIBLEY/ACTION IMAGES

Louis van Gaal has challenged loan striker Radamel Falcao to "prove himself" worthy of a long-term Manchester United future. PA Sport examines the Colombia hitman's contribution in United's 2-0 EPL win at QPR on Saturday.

BUILD-UP PLAY

Did well in holding up the ball in his side's unusual 3-3-2-2 formation, but was unable to provide any incisive balls when confronted head on by QPR's defence. Even when van Gaal gave the fans their wish and reverted to something like a diamond 4-4-2 formation in the second half, Falcao still struggled to impose himself.

POSITIONING

While his teammates struggled to get to grips with their boss' unorthodox set-up, Falcao himself should have had no trouble leading the line.

Instead too often, he found himself drifting onto the wing after laying off to a teammate during link play.

Time and again, Angel di Maria and Antonio Valencia had precious little to aim at in the centre when lining up crosses, purely because Falcao was still lingering out wide.

FINISHING

Falcao wasted four gilt-edged chances at point-blank range, which could easily have cost United victory on another day.

First he blasted straight at Rob Green after Juan Mata's fine through-ball, before failing to direct a close-range header past the Rangers goalkeeper.

Replacement James Wilson even served up two open goals for Falcao as the second half opened up, but still the struggling striker could not convert.

DID HE 'PROVE HIMSELF'?

No. An increasingly paltry three goals in 14 games is hardly likely to convince United's board to shell out the £40 million ($80.3m) to make Falcao's move permanent.

Any striker worthy of such a hefty transfer fee must surely be able to outfox a veteran centre back like Richard Dunne. But he didn't.


Scoring goals is an important aspect of a striker. But, for me, it’s also very important if he is an attacking point, that he can play further and that, with another striker, we are coming into third and fourth phases of our attack. And I think he did well.

- Louis van Gaal on Radamel Falcao