Adidas boss has a crack at Manchester United's playing style

Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, left, and his assistant Ryan Giggs. Photo / AP
Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, left, and his assistant Ryan Giggs. Photo / AP

They're more than happy with the All Blacks but global sportswear giants adidas aren't feeling the same love for another iconic sports team they sponsor.

Adidas boss Herbert Hainer has criticised the playing style of Manchester United, putting the management of the English Premier League club under further pressure.

Hainer, the chairman and chief executive of the German-based adidas empire who are Manchester United's exclusive kit suppliers, admitted in an interview that United's form so far this season "is not exactly what we want to see" just months into a new world record £750million ($NZ1.6 billion) deal.

Adidas can be demanding in its expectations of the teams it sponsors. They were initially unhappy towards the end of their first agreement with the All Blacks, signed in the late 1990s, when New Zealand was failing to live up to its reputation as the world's premier rugby team.

Hainer involved himself in the next renegotiation when the All Blacks toured the United Kingdom in 2001 and adidas has stuck with the All Blacks since, reaping rewards from the past two World Cup triumphs.

Although the pressure on current manager Louis Van Gaal has eased after United ended a run of eight games without a win by beating Swansea at the weekend, supporters used to the cavalier style of the Sir Alex Ferguson era have grown frustrated by his more cautious approach.

Just 16 league goals have been scored at Old Trafford by United and their opponents this season - the lowest at all 92 Football League grounds - while Van Gaal's side have been held to six goalless draws at home.

And although adidas are already reaping the rewards of their new 10-year deal with United, company chief Hainer appeared to agree with that opinion in an interview with a German newspaper.

"Business with Man United is going very well," he told Suddeutsche Zeitung. "We sell more jerseys than expected, the foreign share is 60 percent.

"We are satisfied, even if the actual way of playing of Man Utd is not exactly what we want to see."

Van Gaal has worked hard to impose his philosophy on United since taking over as manager 18 months ago, but it has often seemed at odds with the club's attacking principles.

Chants of 'attack, attack, attack' have been heard on a number of occasions from United fans this season, although their team were more positive in the goalless draw with Chelsea and again in the second half of Sunday's 2-1 win over Swansea.

UNITED'S 2015-16 EPL STATS SO FAR
Played: 20
Won: 9
Drawn: 6
Lost: 5
Goals for: 24
Goals against: 17

- staff reporter and Daily Mail

- NZ Herald

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