7 instances when Louis Van Gaal surprised everyone with his comments at Manchester United
Louis van Gaal is known for his outspoken demeanourLouis Van Gaal, the manager of Manchester United has always been in the news for his comments, his views and most of all his ‘philosophy’. He is someone who has never been afraid to express his feelings out loud. Sometimes he comes out as an egocentric person, as some his former players felt about him. Also the ex-Ajax coach has also been accused of treating his players like machines and not as human beings.He believes football is not a game of legs but a game of brains and tactics. This might not come out as something acceptable to most of the football fans out there, but that is the way he is.His managerial stint with Manchester United is also filled from instances where he has said one thing or the other which can sometimes be comical and sometimes can leave everyone wondering as to what he was actually thinking! However, his record at Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich speak for themselves.Here are few instances when the Dutchman surprised everyone with his comments in front of the media during his time in England.
#1 Louis van Gaal\'s Army
The Dutch manager was at his brilliant best before Manchester United’s high-octane clash with arch-rivals Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams.
Questions were being raised on team-spirit and LVG duly agreed that the two captains Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick came to him and admitted that the atmosphere in the dressing room is rather 'flat'.
Van Gaal then told the press that he then discussed various aspects of the situation with the players.
“These are not the aspects what you have written, or some of you have written and I don't know who exactly has written that,” LVG said.
One of the journalists present supposedly asked Louis that the fans are raising the questions and not us, to which he replied, “The fans are shouting every week ‘Louis Van Gaal’s army, Louis Van Gaal’s army’, so I can say that fans are also satisfied with Louis Van Gaal and my players are also satisfied with me”.
The gaffer’s claims ultimately were proved to be true as ‘LVG’s army’ went on to thrash the Merseysiders 3-1 the very next day.
#2 \'Mike\' Smalling
Van Gaal was appointed as the manager of Manchester United before the start of 2014-15 season, and getting to know your players is one of the first things a manager does at a new club.
However, almost a year later when LVG took the team to a pre-season tour in the United States of America, he forgot the first name of his ‘third captain’, Chris Smalling. The ex-Barcelona manager instead called the defender ‘Mike’ instead of Chris which made the journalists present in the room chuckle with amusement. The manager immediately apologised to the defender who was sitting next to him.
Although, the Dutchman did not stop there as a few months later in November after United scraped through to a win against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, Van Gaal received a lot of boos from the fans and he looked visibly shaken by it. In the post-match conference when he was talking about the match, LVG said, “...David de Gea saved us and after that ‘Michael’ Smalling saved us.”
Smalling has been one of the best performers for United this term and Van Gaal will do a world of good to the defender’s ego if he doesn’t forget his name again.
#3 I have a bad relationship with Giggs
Louis Van Gaal got really enraged as journalists raised questions on his working relationship with Ryan Giggs. Last season, United travelled to St.James Park in March and Ashley Young’s strike in the 89th minute of the game earned the Red Devils three vital points.
After the winger scored the goal, LVG was visibly very happy but his assistant manager Ryan Giggs did not provide much of a response which led to speculations of sourness in the relationship between the two. When he was quizzed about the incident, Van Gaal got badly agitated and said, “I can’t answer that because I want to have those rumours”.
The Dutchman did not stop there, “We have a very bad relationship,” he stated about his relationship with Ryan Giggs.
After repeated questions, he accepted his frustration and said, “...I’m very irritated because of this question, everyone can see that we have a very good relationship and we work very hard together...”.
This is the celebration or 'no-celebration' the media was making a fuss about.
#4 Mocking a journalist
In September 2014, before the visit of Queen Park Rangers to the Old Trafford, LVG was giving updates to the media about the injury situation at the club.
Van Gaal mentioned that Phil Jones might be out for three weeks or even a month. However, the gaffer then stated that it is quite difficult to give a certain date as to when the player will return from injury, and the media will then pile pressure on him as to why the player is still not back.
Imitating a journalist, LVG said, “Louis, Louis, why he is not fit enough again?!
“This is not good for the player, not for me but good for you maybe,” he further commented on the matter, solely aimed at one of the media persons present.
United’s manager then added that he doesn’t want to speak a lot, it’s the media who asks a lot. He cheekily left his seat saying that he doesn’t want to talk, however, all of this was in good spirit and everyone present at the conference shared a good laugh.
#5 Twitched our a**
In the pre-match conference of United’s clash against Cambridge United in the FA Cup in January this year, LVG was talking about the formation his team has played best in.
He agreed to the fact that 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield formation has been the most fruitful formation for the team and even the stats prove it. However, with not much midfield options on the bench the 4-4-2 gives a bit of problem to him and to be precise Van Gall stated, “We have twitched our a** on the bench!”
Van Gaal then went on to ask the reporter, “Do you understand what I mean?”
He further added, “I said to my players that I was squeezing my a**, but that was the wrong expression.”
The tactician then pointed out that the team is unbalanced and that is why he refrains from using the 4-4-2 formation because that means “twitching your a**, and I don’t like that.”
#6 LVG vs Big Sam
Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw with West Ham United early in February this year. The Hammers were on top until Blind equalised for United in injury time. West Ham’s manager Sam Allardyce blasted Van Gaal’s tactics saying that his team only depends on long balls.
Well, the kind of character LVG is, he was definitely not going to sit back and listen to the question raised on his tactics. The next day United’s manager brought a detailed explanation of how many long balls were played by both the teams during the match with the help of his stats team.
“West Ham has played 71% of the long balls forward and we 49,” he said.
Van Gaal even stated the reasons of opting to play long balls in the latter stages of the match.
“We are playing a ball-possession game and after 70 minutes when we don’t succeed...then of course we played more long balls, we scored because of that also, so I think a very good decision of the manager(himself),” LVG further added.
After giving the journalists required details about his team’s playing style, he said, “...I give it to you, you can copy it and then you go to Big Sam and maybe he can give a good interpretation.”
#7 \"A lot of times I use the word \'horny\' with my players\"
Manchester United were relegated to the Europa League after their shambolic performance in the Champions League group stage where they finished third behind Wolfsburg and PSV. The Europa draw pitted them against Danish champions Midtjylland FC, which everyone thought would be an easy match.
However, in the first leg, where the Red Devils travelled to Denmark to face Midtjylland, they were surprised and astounded as the hosts ran out 2-1 winners. The pressure on LVG increased monumentally after the result, but as we all know, the Dutch tactician never ceases to surprise.
In the pre-match conference of the second leg of the match at Old Trafford, Van Gaal was asked by one of the media persons, “Is that a challenge to match the same sort of desire that the other teams have?” Well, what could have been a straightforward reply, Van Gaal came back with an epic one.
He said: “Your word is very fantastic – Desire – it is a great word. Also, 'hungry' and a lot of times I use the word 'horny' with my players.”
Juan Mata, who was sitting next to him was as surprised as us but did well to hide his amusement behind his ever-present smile. However, LVG didn’t stop there, he went on to ask Mata, “Is it true or not?”
The diminutive Spaniard refrained from saying anything but just gave a nod. One of the reporters then quizzed Mata, “If your manager did say that, how would you react?”
The 27-year-old replied: “I would react like you do!”