Bryan Robson calls for Man United to rediscover attacking philosophy

Crystal Palace player Alan Pardew challenges Bryan Robson during the 1990 FA Cup final between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium
Image: Bryan Robson (right) tussles with Alan Pardew during the 1990 FA Cup final

Manchester United great Bryan Robson believes Louis van Gaal's players can do more to prevent boring displays and wants them to exhibit the same attacking football that has made the Premier League side arguably the world's most popular soccer club.

United have alienated a section of their fans and former players with a series of soporific displays this season and were booed by their supporters at home on occasions.

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Robson, United's longest-serving captain, feels the fans are justified in being frustrated with the dour playing style of a club famed for entertaining fans with their attacking flair.

The former England captain, who scored 99 goals in 461 appearances for United, said: "Lot of people will always blame the coach but sometimes the players have to express themselves a little bit more. The players have to take that responsibility.

Wayne Rooney victory celeb, Liverpool v Manchester United, Premier League
Image: Wayne Rooney celebrates his winning goal at Anfield earlier this month

"We are in the entertainment business and that's why Manchester United have 680 million fans around the world. We have to entertain those fans and that's always been part of Manchester United."

United have dominated possession against most opponents, but have largely failed to convert it into goals, lacking creativity in and around the 18-yard box.

Robson, who was in Mumbai to inaugurate a football pitch created by Apollo Tyres using recycled rubber, said United currently lacked players who could supply that extra bit of flair.

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He said: "Sometimes you need attacking players with a bit of imagination and flair to actually produce that type of football.

"At the moment, we are just a little bit short of that. We are not far off. People like (Wayne) Rooney, (Anthony) Martial, (Memphis) Depay and (Juan) Mata - they have all got great ability, and it's just about getting a little bit better."

Anthony Martial missed chance reaction, Wolfsburg v Manchester United, Champions League
Image: Anthony Martial shows his frustration in the Champions League game against Wolfsburg

Van Gaal has won league titles in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands and having tightened the team's defence, Robson felt, the 64-year-old was ideally placed to reinvent United's attack.

"When Louis van Gaal first came to the club, he wanted to get a good, solid base to the team," said Robson, who has managed Middlesbrough, West Brom, Sheffield United, Bradford and Thailand's national team.

"We have proved this season that we are difficult to score against. So now I think Louis Van Gaal will look to be that little bit more attacking and try and get the side to the level which the Manchester United fans have always been used to."

United are currently fifth in the Premier League table, seven points off leaders Arsenal, but Van Gaal believes his team can still win the title.

A less optimistic Robson predicted a top-four finish for the side, with Manchester City and Arsenal as his picks to win the league.

England's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the match with team-mates during the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium
Image: England have been tipped to do well in France this summer by their former captain

He ruled out second-placed Leicester City winning the title, but tipped them for a Champions League slot.

Robson also expects England to do well at this year's European Championship, even though he does not really see them beating world champions Germany or Spain.

He said: "I think this time we have quite a good chance of doing well in the competition. We have young players with a lot of pace in the team and we have good fitness.

"I think Germany are still the favourites. Spain are always difficult to beat. I will say after Germany and Spain, England have got a chance."  

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