Under-fire Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal believes numbers at the Old Trafford turnstiles are proof of fans faith despite a mass exodus from the stands before the final whistle in their last outing.
Thousands of fans had already left their seats before Wayne Rooney converted a penalty deep into injury time of United’s dull 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup at the weekend.
But the Dutch handler insisted ahead of a trip to Newcastle United in the Premier League on Tuesday that bums on seats prove his side are still an attractive prospect.
“How many stadiums were like our stadium, full?, asked Van Gaal on Monday.
“You can mention how they leave, but you can also mention how they come to the stadium to watch this FA Cup match.”
“There are many reasons to leave the stadium at the last minute. When I watch matches to analyse our opponent then I leave the stadium five minutes before. You never know the reason,” he said.
“You can be very negative but we are in the next round and won two matches out of a very bad period.”
Fans booed the side off at half-time of the game and United failed to deliver a shot on target before the 69th minute.
Patience has been wearing thin amongst fans even if United have won their last two games after ending an eight game winless streak.
“Maybe (fans left) also because of the traffic. That is why they leave the stadium a few minutes early,” the Dutchman insisted.
Van Gaal insists he does want to play a more attacking game when circumstances allow with his latest test set to come against struggling Newcastle United in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
Victory at St James’ Park, where Newcastle have won just twice this season, would take United level on points with Tottenham in fourth place in the table
The Dutchman added: “I’m thinking how we have to attack and improve.
“You’re always take how your opponent is playing into account. Ours (Sheffield United) was defending with players behind the ball, it’s not easy.
“It’s not an easy time now. It’s a process and there are ups and downs. Now we have won two games in a row it might give us a boost.
“Newcastle are playing very well. Against Arsenal they played very well but didn’t win. That is the most important thing in football. I hope they don’t win against us.”
Van Gaal’s hopes of registering a third win in succession took a blow with injury to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will miss Tuesday’s game at Newcastle because of a knee injury he suffered in the dying stages of Saturday’s game.
Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia are all unavailable because of long-term injuries while Phil Jones is likely to miss out, but Ashley Young, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick should all be fit. – Agence France-Presse