Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has once again accused current Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of "parking the bus," saying the Norwegian plays more defensive football than people think.
Per the Mirror's Simon Mullock, the Dutchman told Ziggo that Solskjaer's appointment had a clear impact on the club, but his defensive tactics aren't all that different from his predecessor, Jose Mourinho:
"I can see how Ole had some impact in the beginning, because United were ninth in the table when he took over and the team was nothing. United had been playing anti-football, as I call it, but don’t think that Ole isn’t afraid to park the bus either — he is more defensive than you think.
"I have been watching the team, because I always look at United still, and Ole parked the bus against Arsenal. He did it against Tottenham in the league. And at stages against Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona in the Champions League.
"He plays against all the big teams like that. The emphasis is more on defending than on attacking or wanting to play dominant football. I actually call it parking the bus. Ole does it not just outside the 18-yard box. He parks the bus right in front of [goalkeeper] David De Gea."
He added Solskjaer is overly reliant on the raw speed of Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku on the counter-attack, and said the club will have to change their tactics to find success in Europe.
The criticism comes less than a month after Van Gaal made similar comments to Simon Stone of BBC Sport. In that interview he said Solskjaer's style of play is similar to that of Mourinho, and the main difference between the two is the fact the former was winning matches.
The Red Devils' results have taken a turn for the worse since the start of March, however. They've won just four of their last nine matches across all competitions, getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup as well as falling behind in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Some fans aren't as confident as they were in the weeks following Solskjaer's appointment, when the Red Devils put together a lengthy unbeaten streak and knocked Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League:
Tom McDermott @MrTomMcDermott
An agent told me last month that in March 2020, #MUFC will be in a similar position (hovering around top 4), Solskjaer will be gone or close to the end, and United would be even further behind. At the time I winced. Now I think he might be right sadly. Feel terrible tweeting it.
Others believe it's far too early to criticise Solskjaer, who has yet to make the squad his own:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
I get fans are frustrated, and he has made a few mistakes, but Man Utd wouldn't be anywhere near the top four or having reached a CL QF without Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Judge him properly on how he handles the transfer market over the next year and the team he begins to create.
The Red Devils are expected to be active in the transfer market this summer, backing Solskjaer with several signings and trimming the squad of some unwanted players. The former top striker has tried to rely on some of the younger talents, and that appears to be the direction the club is trending for the summer as well.
He'll likely be judged on how he develops youth and makes the squad his own, rather than what he does with a team that was assembled before he arrived.