Louis Van Gaal Presents Dossier Of Passing Stats At Press Conference In Response To Big Sam’s ‘Long Ball’ Claims

Chris Wright

10th, February 2015


By Chris Wright

Oh dear, looks like Louis van Gaal’s just had his “Rafa’s facts” moment…

Irked by Large Samuel’s tongue-in-cheek assertion that Manchester United resorted to long-ball tactics to sneak a draw against West Ham on Sunday evening, the Dutchman prepared and presented journalists with a print-out of United’s passing stats against the Hammers to prove otherwise.

“Because I expected this question (about long balls), 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 pontificated.

“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% ball possession do you think that you can do that with long balls?”

You got long-ass balls Louis. Long-ass balls.

Big Sam couldn’t be reached for a reaction, but we imagine it was something like this…

Anyway, according to Van Gaal’s diagrams, West Ham sent a higher percentage of their long passes forward than United during the game, with 71% percent of the Hammers long passes (anything longer than 25 metres) going straight up to their strikers, as opposed to just 49.9% of the away side’s.

Just hark at the look on United’s press officer’s face when she’s forced to hands over the pamphlets…

Van Gaal also used the pass maps to demonstrate that the majority of United’s 25+ metre passes went sideways or diagonal, rather than forward – which, we suppose, is meant to be a good thing.

It’s becoming a slight pet peeve of Pies’ that managers are deliberately attempting to shame teams out of “going direct” like aimless, flaccid possession retention is the be all and end all.

After all, United switched to the long-ball approach for the last 10 minutes or so and came away with a point after failing to create anything of note in the previous 80.

It works (sometimes). Deal with it.

Posted in Man Utd, Managers, Media, Newsnow, West Ham Utd

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  1. What4 says:

    Quite petty from Longball Van Gaal, if you ask me. The fact remains that Man U have attempted the second most long balls this season, and Longball ‘tactical genius’ Van Gaal spent £150m just so he could hoof long balls around. Allardyce is right.

  2. Dutch says:

    Trust me, as a Dutch native I can tell you van Gaal is the most petty man in the business. The is even a widely published, proven formula for the man: van Gaal’s anger is invertedly proportional to the stature of the journalist and/or question asked.

  3. Bob says:

    But it doesn’t really work does it? It was a dodgy clearance by the defender which led to the goal, something that could have happened with the other team playing any tactics.

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