Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says his players do not dare to play football at the moment.
Van Gaal, like many pundits, accused his players of being afraid of playing their usual game during today’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke City.
While many onlookers have blamed Van Gaal’s rigid system and demands for that apparent fear of making mistakes, he attributes it to the team’s winless streak, which now extends to seven games in all competitions.
The under-fire Dutchman suggested that his players were struggling to cope with the pressure of the club’s recent poor run of form and that manifest itself in a poor Boxing Day display.
He told Sky Sports in his post-match interview after this afternoon’s loss at the Britannia Stadium: “My thoughts are we don’t dare to play football in the first half.
“The second half was much better, but still created one or two chances, but still we have to score… we don’t dare to play.
“The circumstances were difficult – not only the circumstances the wind but also the pressure.”
United are now down to sixth in the Premier League table, with Watford also able to leapfrog them if they beat Chelsea today.