Man United legends: How Sir Alex would have handled long ball criticism

David May and Clayton Blackmore tell The Sport Review how Sir Alex Ferguson would have handled 'long-ball gate'

By Steven Prince

David May believes that Manchester United’s longest-serving and iconic manager Sir Alex Ferguson would have handled the now-famous ‘long-ball gate’ very differently from Louis van Gaal.

The 63-year-old no-nonsense Red Devils head coach was left infuriated after Hammers boss Sam Allardyce criticised his side’s long-ball approach following a 1-1 draw at Upton Park earlier this month.

Sir Alex used to get on very well with Sam, so I don’t think Sam would’ve done that

Clayton Blackmore

The Dutchman attended last week’s media conference with pieces of A4 paper, detailing the statistics from the club’s last-gasp draw at West Ham, particularly analysing the long-ball figures.

May, who spent nine years at Old Trafford, stated that Ferguson would have taken an alternate stance with any journalists who dared to pose such a question.

“He would’ve told them all to get the f**k out of his press conference,” May told The Sport Review.

May is fondly remembered for his exuberant on-field Champions League celebrations from 1999 after United came from behind to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 at Camp Nou.

Another former Red Devils legend Clayton Blackmore reckons Hammers manager Allardyce would have refrained from making such a controversial statement if Ferguson was still in charge.

“Sir Alex used to get on very well with Sam, so I don’t think Sam would’ve done that.

“Stats don’t really mean anything, we played route-one in the last 15 minutes, put Fellaini upfront, but in the Premier League, you need to be able to play a little bit of everything.

“Route-one, short passes, dribble. You’ve got to be able to do everything if you’re going to win this league.”

United have beaten Burnley in the Premier League and FA Cup opponents Preston North End since their stalemate at Upton Park.

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