- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has produced a dossier of statistics to respond to claims by West Ham that his team relies on a long-ball game.

After the 1-1 draw in the English Premier League on Sunday, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce described Van Gaal’s team as “long-ball United.”

But Van Gaal said Allardyce’s “interpretation” was incorrect, and the Dutch manager produced a pamphlet filled with statistics at a media conference on Tuesday to back his stance.

The pamphlet said 71.1 percent of West Ham’s long passes - over 25 meters - went forward, whereas United’s percentage was just 49.9 percent.

Diagrams showed United’s passes went sideways or diagonally, rather than forward.

“When you have nearly 60% ball possession, do you think you can do that with long balls?” Van Gaal asked. “You have to look at the data and then you see of course, we play long balls but more long balls wide than to the strikers.”

United was also criticized for sending on Marouane Fellaini in the 72nd minute and employing a more direct style of play, as it trailed 1-0.

Daley Blind equalized in stoppage time after a high ball into the box to Fellaini was not properly cleared and the midfielder struck from the edge of the area.

“We are playing ball-possession play. After 70 minutes, we don’t succeed in spite of many chances in the second half and then of course, with the quality of Fellaini, we played more forward balls,” Van Gaal explained. “We scored because of that also, so I think (it is) a very good decision of the manager.”

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