Watch Man United’s Louis van Gaal respond to Sam Allardyce’s criticism

Louis insists Manchester United aren't a long-ball team

Louis van Gaal has defended his decision to change tactics during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, and has refuted claims about Manchester United’s new long-ball tactics.

Daley Blind rescued a point at Upton Park after bombarding the Hammers’ defence for the final 20 minutes, after going behind to Cheikhou Kouyate’s opener.

The enigmatic Dutchman spoke at his media conference on Tuesday, with paper evidence disproving Sam Allardyce’s post-game comments about ‘long-ball-gate’ and the reasons behind the tactical decisions he made.

“We were playing possession football but this was proving unsuccessful. Despite all our second-half chances, I changed our playing style in the 70th minute,” said Van Gaal.

“If you look at the data, then you will see we did play long balls – but long balls wide rather than to the striker.”

The former Netherlands national team boss also defended his use of Marouane Fellaini, who after coming on in the 76th minute was the target of United’s aerial assault.

“With Fellaini’s qualities, we played more balls forward and eventually we scored from that,” said the 63-year-old, “so it was a good managerial decision.”

The United boss then turned his attentions to West Ham, and pointed out how the Hammers used long-ball tactics far more frequently.

“During the game we had 60% possession and when you have this much of the ball, you cannot play long balls,” he said.

“West Ham used the long-ball to their forwards 71% of the time. We only used it 49%.”

United face north west rivals Burnley at Old Trafford tomorrow evening, presently occupying the final top-four spot – one point behind third-placed Southampton but have north London duo Tottenham and Arsenal breathing down their neck.

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