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Van Gaal: Manchester United players too soft

Louis van Gaal has challenged his Manchester United players to show more aggression and take greater responsibility after accusing his squad of being too friendly with each other.

Van Gaal and United have endured a turbulent season, having exited the Champions League last month in the midst of an eight-game winless streak, which finally came to an end against Swansea City in the Premier League last week.

The 2-1 win at Old Trafford eased the pressure on Van Gaal following an improved display in their goalless draw with embattled champions Chelsea last month.

And as United prepare for Saturday's FA Cup third-round visit of Sheffield United, Van Gaal was asked if the mood within the dressing room had improved since the points were shared at home to Chelsea.

"I think the atmosphere in our dressing room is very good, maybe too good because they are always protecting the dressing room, their colleagues. That is very good until a certain height," the Dutchman said.

"We have also changed our approach to the players to make it more easy to take responsibility. I have stimulated them to think about football.

"The game is a brain sport and now you can let them think with you and therefore you can change your approach.

"The players take the commitment, for example, for the game plan and other kinds of decisions and then the commitment is higher and bigger I think.

"But we have to see how it shall work. We are trying everything to come to a solution but at the end it always comes down to [whether] we are better than the opponents. But we have to score goals."