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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal urging his players to look forward

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal waves to the fans during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Image: Louis van Gaal: Defensive mentality of his side has been criticised

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has ordered his players to cut down the number of back-passes they play to goalkeeper David de Gea.

Van Gaal is facing increasing pressure over his side’s unadventurous performances despite them being bang in contention for a return to the Champions League.

Supporters booed the team, as well as chanting “attack, attack - attack, attack, attack” during the 2-0 win over Sunderland last weekend, the loudest reaction coming when a United corner ended up being played all the way back to De Gea.

And Van Gaal conceded he has been frustrated at the amount of times the Spanish ‘keeper has been used as a springboard for United’s attacking play.

“I agree with the fans that we don't have to use the goalkeeper so much," he said. "I have seen moments when we could play with a higher tempo without interfering with the goalkeeper.

“Sometimes the players may not see another solution. But I have to support them. Also, a fan has to see that.

“Of course, to attack is more or less the English style of playing a match. But I think the supporters have also enjoyed Manchester United playing in a possession game so it is always a mix of playing both. I think we can still improve in not losing the ball unnecessarily.”

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Van Gaal further denied that his players are suffering nerves as they look to seal a place in the top four.

“You can always say that, but every player is at a different height of pressure,” he added. “And every player has to manage that pressure.

“You cannot, in general, say it is a nervous team because maybe six or seven players are always playing arrogantly and they need to play arrogantly to be good.

“And the other players need to be tense to play good. You can say about individual players that they are nervous.

"Then, okay, we have to talk about individual players, but I don’t want to talk about individual players.”

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