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West Ham boss insists Van Gaal criticism is misplaced

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal finds an unlikely ally in Bilic
Van Gaal finds an unlikely ally in Bilic

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic believes Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is being unfairly criticised, as he prepares to bring his side to Old Trafford this weekend.

Bilic has already led the Hammers to away wins against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, with United the next team in his sights for his threatening Hammers.

He will arrive at Old Trafford with United fans growing increasingly disillusioned with the style of play being promoted by Van Gaal, but Bilic insists the Dutch tactician should be respected for getting positive results. 

"They are different than, let's say, the Ferguson era, when especially at home they were electric, playing more vertically, but you say narrow victories, but they are victories,” stated Bilic.

“So they are winning, they're not conceding goals and somebody said they are boring, but they are having the ball. 

"They are not a team that is giving you the ball and defending, you can call that kind of football, sometimes, boring."

Bilic accepts the Van Gaal style may not be applauded by all, but he suggests United are facing a problem all top teams encounter when they take on counter-attacking rivals.

“They have the ball possession, they are controlling the game and trying to win every game," he added.

“Especially at home, when the opponents are defending with numbers and are compact, you can't play very vertically. 

"You need gaps and space behind or in between the lines of the opponent. That's hard to find. 

“We can call it controlled football, we can call it patient football, but it is so far very effective because they are sitting good in the table."