Louis van Gaal Says Paul Scholes Created 'Negative' Manchester United Atmosphere

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Louis van Gaal of Manchester United waves to the crowd before the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on February 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has accused Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes of creating a "negative atmosphere" around the club with his criticism of the team's style of play.

The former United midfielder has been critical of Van Gaal's style this season, particularly after the Red Devils' lacklustre display in a home FA Cup win against Sheffield United back in January when he labelled the team "boring," per BT Sport.

Van Gaal believes Scholes' comments negatively influenced many United fans, and the Dutchman has now encouraged the Class of '92 star to be more positive, but he insisted he would never ask assistant manager Ryan Giggs to have a word with his former team-mate, per Mark Ogden in the Independent

In England, it is more [about] the result than performance, only when Paul Scholes started he influenced a certain amount of fans.

No, I don’t think that I have to give Ryan stress in his friendship with Scholes. I have managed all of my career, so it would not be good or honest of me to ask Ryan to say something.

What Scholes is thinking, he has to think it. Every human being can give his opinion. I don’t bother about that, I think it is good. But my problem is when you create an atmosphere, a very negative atmosphere for somebody, so maybe he should be more positive.

Recent results have seen the accusations of boring play lessen somewhat for Van Gaal's side as United have scored seven times in their last three outings.

A 3-1 defeat of Derby County in the FA Cup and a 3-0 victory over Stoke City in the league preceded Sunday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a match that Van Gaal believed his side deserved to win, per Sky Sports Football:

Certainly United looked the better side for much of the west London clash, deservedly going 1-0 up through a fantastic Jesse Lingard strike just after the hour mark.

However, an overly defensive display as United tried to protect their lead proved to be their downfall as Diego Costa equalised in stoppage-time, per the Manchester Evening News' Samuel Luckhurst:

And the point at Stamford Bridge was not enough to dampen rumours that Van Gaal will be replaced in the summer by Jose Mourinho, per the Mirror's David Anderson and Darren Lewis.

Undoubtedly, Van Gaal's position has become weakened by the fact United are looking less and less likely to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League—they are currently six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

But he has come in for even more criticism because of the turgid performances so regularly put in by his team this season, which go against the free-flowing style United have previously been famed for.

Bleacher Report's Dean Jones believes that appointing Mourinho could be a galvanising factor for the United squad:

But clearly Van Gaal believes that a more positive attitude towards the side—from fans and former players alike—is a potential key to improvement.

He will be eager to see out his contract at Old Trafford—which expires in 2017—and he may yet remain in the top job past the summer if he can get United into the top four.