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Louis van Gaal: Nine Touches Are All A Striker Really Needs To Score Goal

Have you ever wondered why Wayne Rooney's form seems to have dipped? Yes most Manchester United strikers are very talented but they look...

Have you ever wondered why Wayne Rooney's form seems to have dipped? Yes most Manchester United strikers are very talented but they look as if they are starved of the ball and therefore making their play boring. 

Is the Louis van Gaal philosophy that a striker in his team only needs nine touches for him to thrive affecting play?

Louis van Gaal is resolute that playing as a striker in his Manchester United team is not complicated, with the manager insisting nine touches a match are enough for a goalscorer to prosper.

United’s tally of 15 goals is the lowest of the Premier League’s top four sides, and they have scored only once in the past three games. Wayne Rooney is the top scorer with six yet Paul Scholes, the club’s former midfielder, believes it is difficult to be a centre-forward for Van Gaal.
Louis van Gaal says his Manchester United players, like Wayne Rooney, need to cope with the pressure of finishing. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
The Dutchman disagrees, arguing enough chances are being created but that the pressure of finishing needs to be coped with and that Scholes’s complaint over how little Rooney was involved in the derby against Manchester City as a centre-forward was misplaced.

“I was manager of Bayern, and there the striker was Mario Gomez, and he touched the ball nine times as an average in a game,” Van Gaal said.

“The highest was 14 balls but he scored every game and I don’t think that our strikers touch the ball less. It’s how the balls are coming to him, how he decides, how quick he is in dealing with the situation, it’s much more complicated than everyone is thinking.”

Van Gaal outlined what his forwards need to do to score more. “Players are human beings and they want to score goals but they maybe want it too much and then maybe the chances are not so good. But you have to cope with that pressure.”

Van Gaal dismissed Scholes’s criticism that United do not excite, saying “sticks and stones can break my bones but names never hurt me”.

On Wednesday evening United were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Middlesbrough on penalties following a dour goalless 120 minutes that caused Scholes to state he would “not enjoy” playing for Van Gaal.

However the manager defended the team’s style when it was suggested the next stage is for him to take risks. “No, now you are agreeing with Paul Scholes’s opinion – I always take risks.

“He doesn’t have the responsibility so he can say everything. Why is he saying something? Because of the benefit of the club or for the benefit for him? I’m not agreeing with his opinion but I don’t want to defend myself. He is a legend and he has a lot of resonance I have heard. I know when we shall lose and lose I shall be finished – but I will do everything for this club because of the fans, who are unbelievable.”

Van Gaal suggested that Scholes, who made the comments on BBC Radio Manchester, should speak direct to Ryan Giggs, his former team-mate and the Dutchman’s assistant, or to Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman.

“When you are a legend, you have to speak with the manager or his friend, Ryan Giggs, or Ed Woodward but not this way, because he will be paid by the BBC or Sky. When Scholes thinks I should go, then I go. But he is not a responsible man, he is not the Glazers or Ed Woodward.”

James Wilson and Memphis Depay are doubts due to injury for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.