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Louis van Gaal visually explains why Big Sam's long-ball claims are wrong

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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was quick to reject any suggestion that his side adopted a long-ball approach in the second half of their 1-1 draw against West Ham United.

Manager Sam Allardyce accused the Red Devils of "hit and hope" tactics after the game, saying that his players couldn't cope with the long balls thrown into the penalty area.

But van Gaal presented journalists with a number of A4-sized diagrams to prove his point.

"Because I expected this question, I have made an interpretation of the data for this game and then I have to say that it is not a good interpretation from Big Sam," van Gaal said during Tuesday's press conference.

"You have to look at the data and then you will see that we did play long balls, but long balls wide rather than to the striker.

"When you have 60 per cent ball possession do you think that you can do that with long balls?

"Yeah, long balls, in the width, to switch the play. You have to look at the data and then you will see that we did play long balls, but long balls wide, rather than to the striker.

"A ball to the forward striker is mainly caused long-ball play.

"It is not so difficult also to read that.

"I am sorry, but we are playing ball possession play and after 70 minutes we did not succeed, in spite of many chances in the second half, then I changed my playing style.

"Then, of course, with the quality of Fellaini we played more forward balls and we scored from that, so I think it was a very good decision of the manager.

"But, when you see overall the long ball, and what is the percentage of that, then West Ham have played 71 per cent of the long balls to the forwards and we 49."

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Louis van Gaal, Sam Allardyce



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