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Zaha was ‘set up to fail’ at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Wilfried Zaha - Manchester United
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A highly-rated youngster back then, the Ivorian was forced to play out of position when a certain Dutchman was in the dugout at Old Trafford.

Wilfried Zaha claims he was “set up to fail” at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal as he was offered no option of playing in his preferred position under the manager.

Zaha sealed a £10 million move from Crystal Palace to Manchester United in January 2013.

It was Sir Alex Ferguson who signed the forward during the final year of his 26-year-long managerial career at the club.

The Ivory Coast international found opportunities hard to come by after Ferguson stepped down and was shipped out on loan during David Moyes’ short managerial stint.

He returned after his loan spell at Cardiff City to find Moyes sacked, but Van Gaal’s appointment only made his situation at the club worse.

Speaking to the On The Judy podcast, Zaha has tried to point out what went wrong for him at Man United.

“He [Louis van Gaal] gave me two options: you’re either a wing-back or a striker,” he said. “Those are positions I’d never played before, it was like I’m being set up to fail.

“This was after coming back from the David Moyes era and I was just shattered with how everything didn’t work out for me. Then I go back, I get ‘either you’re a striker or a wing-back’ – and I couldn’t do either.

“I can vary my game now. With years of playing you get experience. You’ve seen me play up front for Palace these days. Back then I wasn’t good with my back to goal because I didn’t have the awareness. I’d stand on the ball and the defender would poke it away. I wasn’t good with that.”

Zaha added: “I remember I had to play striker in pre-season. We were playing teams like Inter, I had to play against [Nemanja] Vidic. We played against Real Madrid, I’m playing against Pepe and [Sergio] Ramos up front.

“It was like, ‘this guy is boying me’. Bro, I’m being thrown in the deep end against the maddest teams.”