Manchester United vs Watford: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends style after Louis van Gaal claims he ‘parks the bus’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his preferred style of play after it was described as ‘parking the bus’ by Louis van Gaal.

Solskjaer’s first game as the new, permanent manager of Manchester United ended in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Watford on Saturday.

United were second-best for long spells at Old Trafford and played largely on the back foot, with both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s goals coming against the run of play.

It was a performance which chimed with the words of former United manager Van Gaal, who said in an interview with BBC Sport that Solskjaer “parks the bus and plays on the counter”.

Solskjaer admitted on Saturday that United were below-par against Watford but believed Van Gaal’s appraisal of his methods was incorrect.

The Norwegian also suggested that the smash-and-grab win against Paris Saint-Germain last month – the highlight of his tenure so far – may have influenced Van Gaal’s comments.

“LVG is entitled to his opinion,” the United manager said. “We’ve been looking at games. Some games we’ve pressed really high and won the ball up there and dominated. 

“He’s probably talking more about the PSG game, which was a game that we had to defend really well in the circumstances and counter attack.

“It’s about where you win the ball. You want to defend to win the ball to go forward. You have to win the ball to attack and for me there’s two ways. 

“Can you attack quickly like we did today, why not? As long as your intention is, when you win the ball, to attack.”

Solskjaer salutes the fans (Getty)

Solskjaer added: “The foundation in any team is to play well without the ball. If you can do that you’ve got a great chance.

“If that’s high pressure, low pressure, medium… sometimes we have to vary that. 

“Players here – most of them – they’ve had [Jose] Mourinho, they’ve had Van Gaal, they’ve had [David] Moyes and Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson], so they’ve had a great education. They know both sides of the game.”

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