Sam Allardyce defends his Man United long-ball comments

Sam Allardyce stands by his criticism of Manchester United's long-ball tactic

Sam Allardyce has reiterated his stance over Manchester United’s long-ball approach after the West Ham manager riled Louis van Gaal following a stalemate at Upton Park last weekend.

The Hammers boss accused the 20-time English champions of using an overly direct approach after Daley Blind had scored a late equaliser to deny the east London side a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Louis’s response created a bit of a furore and he obviously felt he had to protect himself by responding to my comments

Sam Allardyce

However, Van Gaal hit back at the Englishman in his media conference on Monday afternoon after he presented a sheet of stats in a bid to disprove Allardyce’s statement.

Writing in his London Evening Standard column, Allardyce said: “The first thing I want to say is I have every respect for Louis van Gaal.

“However, speaking from the experience of years of criticism that teams managed by me alway play the long-ball game, I felt it was right after our match against Manchester United to make the comments I did.

“It was, to a certain extent, tongue in cheek but I believe I was also making a factual point.

“The fact was I saw United play, for a time against us last weekend, in a way I have never seen them before.

“What I didn’t say afterwards was that we played fewer long balls than them — my comment was that United played long-ball football more than I have ever witnessed from them in the past.

“As it happens, the statistics seem to bear that out over the season and as far as our game was concerned, it worked with that late equaliser even though it didn’t come directly from a long ball.”

Allardyce added that if he could go back to Sunday’s post-match conference, the Hammers boss would still point out the same stats from the game despite the controversy they caused.

“Dare I make those comments because it’s Manchester United? Yes, I dare because it was a fact,” Allardyce continued.

“Louis’s response created a bit of a furore and he obviously felt he had to protect himself by responding to my comments. It was clear he didn’t want to be saddled with the same sort of tag that has been my lot over the years.”

Allardyce’s West Ham side are nine points adrift of third-placed United in the race for a top-four finish.

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