West Ham boss insists Van Gaal criticism is misplaced

Van Gaal finds an unlikely ally in Bilic

Van Gaal finds an unlikely ally in Bilic

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic believes Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is being unfairly criticised, as he prepares to bring his side to Old Trafford this weekend.

Bilic has already led the Hammers to away wins against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, with United the next team in his sights for his threatening Hammers.

He will arrive at Old Trafford with United fans growing increasingly disillusioned with the style of play being promoted by Van Gaal, but Bilic insists the Dutch tactician should be respected for getting positive results. 

"They are different than, let's say, the Ferguson era, when especially at home they were electric, playing more vertically, but you say narrow victories, but they are victories,” stated Bilic.

“So they are winning, they're not conceding goals and somebody said they are boring, but they are having the ball. 

"They are not a team that is giving you the ball and defending, you can call that kind of football, sometimes, boring."

Bilic accepts the Van Gaal style may not be applauded by all, but he suggests United are facing a problem all top teams encounter when they take on counter-attacking rivals.

“They have the ball possession, they are controlling the game and trying to win every game," he added.

“Especially at home, when the opponents are defending with numbers and are compact, you can't play very vertically. 

"You need gaps and space behind or in between the lines of the opponent. That's hard to find. 

“We can call it controlled football, we can call it patient football, but it is so far very effective because they are sitting good in the table."

Gary Neville thanks supporters after first day as Valencia boss

Surprise appointment Neville getting down to work at Valencia

Surprise appointment Neville getting down to work at Valencia

Gary Neville has taken to Twitter to thanks his supporters after his hectic first day as the new head coach of Spanish giants Valencia.

Former Manchester United captain Neville faced the Spanish media in a lengthy press conference on Thursday and also met his Valencia players for the first time, with his messages on social media confirming he has been through a whirlwind few days.

Long but exciting day that one. Thank you for all your messages. Thank you to @valenciacf for the opportunity .

— Gary Neville (@GNev2) December 3, 2015

Neville made an impressive debut in his first media conference as Valencia boss, with these key points being made by the Englishman as he takes on his first management job:

On understanding the philosophy of Valencia's football

"We have big games coming up and at the moment the most important thing is to win games regardless of style."

On looking beyond his six-month contract

"The only way to approach a football job will be as if it's a permanent job, I don't believe you can make short-term decisions, I don't believe in working that way."

On his search for a Spanish teacher

"Spanish will be my biggest challenge. I will take lessons every day. I can't find a teacher at the moment who gets up at 6am every day so if you know someone then let me know.."

On working with his brother, Phil – who will remain an assistant at the club

"If Phil wasn't here I would want him here. He's diligent, hard-working and form my point of view I'm delighted he's part of the coaching set-up. We don't do niceties and we talk about actions and what we're going to do."

On moving his family to Spain

"My family will move over here permanently. My girls finish school in Manchester in two weeks and move over to Valencia. When I was in Manchester I wanted footballers from abroad to show commitment to the club and the way of life so I have done that even though the contract is only for six months."

On why now was the time to take his first job in management

"Sitting on television, talking about coaches for these last few years, the time had come for me to stand up."

On what he would have made of a similar appointment when he was a pundit

"I would question it as a neutral observer and would be sceptical, wanting to be proven otherwise."

On not copying the style of football he played at Manchester United

"I'm not going to insult Valencia by telling them I'm coming over here and playing football like Manchester United."

On combining the job with his England coaching role

"It doesn't stop me having phone conversations with Roy and the other coaches. I have a lot of hours in my day.''

On his co-ownership of Salford City

"Salford City has a 14-person committee, a coaching staff and three other owners who live near the ground. My input, in that sense, is minimal. The club runs itself in many ways."