Manchester United F.C.

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Louis Van Gaal: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Van Gaal makes some hair-raising comments.

What he said:

“When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that’s a penalty. Shall I grab you by your hair? What is your reaction when I grab your hair? Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but, when I do that, what are you doing then? It’s a reaction. Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They did it. They did it several times I think.”

Manchester United’s manager Louis Van Gaal can be quite surreal with his statements to the English press.

The Dutchman defended Marouane Fellaini’s elbowing of Leicester’s Robert Huth during their 1-1 draw on Sunday with the above statements moving to pull the questioning journalist’s hair.

What he really meant:

“Hair-pulling is quite a provocative act. A footballer who pulls his opponent’s hair deserves to be elbowed. I’d like to see you elbow me when I pull yours. Isn’t that bloody natural?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“That was the Hair of God and God’s elbow!”

Alex Ferguson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Alex Ferguson waxes effusive on  Jose Mourinho.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now. But I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can.”

Former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson showers praise on current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in an interview to Clare Balding for a BT Sport documentary to be broadcast on Boxing Day.

Ferguson added:

“He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time.He [Mourinho] has got a determination, he wants to be a coach.He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it.
Then he goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan. That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to.”

Português: O treinador de futebol português Jo...

Português: O treinador de futebol português José Mourinho. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blues coach Mourinho reciprocated the Scot’s approval with similar acclaim (on the same show).

The Portuguese said that he always ordered the same bottle of wine whenever United played them at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho said:

“It was Chelsea Football Club catering that bought the wine, and obviously the wine was not the top quality that the boss deserves. It was quite funny but disappointing. 

So the next time we play against each other, I called a friend and I told him, the best I want the best. 

And from that moment always the same bottle when I play against the boss.”

He added:

“Everything, his talent, the time he put his talent at the service of Manchester United and football in general. The passion that he has put in to everything, and after that in private moments, obviously, a good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much. Now and again I’ve had questions to put to him and the way he has answered to me was always magnificent and a great support.”

What Ferguson really meant:

“He’s better looking than me plus he can travel all over Europe with his facility for picking up new languages. Imagine he can coach in five different tongues and claim he’s the ‘Chosen One’ in each of them too.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“He (Mourinho) would make a great travelling salesman, wouldn’t he?”

Gary Neville: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Gary Neville pub-crawls back and froth from The Dog and Duck to The Red Lion.

What he said:

“It’s the Dog and Duck versus The Red Lion.”

Former Manchester United player and skipper Gary Neville likens the upcoming match-up between Liverpool and Manchester United to a game between two pub sides.

Neville was commenting on United’s poor show against Southampton where they won 2-1 and had them sitting pretty at third spot in the English Premier League standings on the back of five consecutive wins.

Neville said:

“United got away with murder tonight. They look shot of confidence. United will be delighted to sit third and think they will get better.”

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United manager Louis Van Gaal warned Neville to “pay attention to his words”.

The Dutchman said:

“He can say everything because he is an ex-legend. But as an ex-legend … or as a legend, you have to know what you are saying. You can interpret that [as you like]. It’s not difficult. He has to pay attention to his words.”

Van Gaal singled out fellow countryman Robin Van Persie for praise following his brace against Southampton but conceded that United were not up to par.

Van Gaal said:

“He was one of the three players on the pitch of Manchester United who were good or maybe very good. He had a great influence on the result. Very positive.

Until now it was his best performance. I hope but I have to say I was very pleased with his performance and also his goals. His second was not so easy because the ball was coming towards his right foot and he connected with his left. A nice touch. Normally you have six, seven, eight players who are good. But today there were too many not good, I believe.”

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Neville really meant:

 “If that’s the level of play Liverpool and United are going to bring to the table, I’d be better off catching up with some Sunday League game instead or playing in one myself.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “You do know that the Dog and Duck and The Red Lion are two of my favourite sports bars, right? That’s where we should watch Sunday soccer, not in some bloody sanitised studio. Soak up the atmosphere, eh?”

 

Alex Ferguson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Alex Ferguson updates his Manchester United legacy.

What he said:

“It is an insult to say that I left an ageing squad.Chelsea have seven players over 30 but nobody talks about them being an old team.”

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was promoting the revised version of his autobiography, “Alex Ferguson: My autobiography” at London’s Theatre Royal.

What he really meant:

“Hell, no one would have said a word if MU had continued their winning ways. Did I forget to mention that I did not quit midway?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Chelsea are handling the transition better. Well, somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta lose, right?”

Louis Van Gaal: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Louis Van Gaal has no time for last-minute shirtless histrionics.

What he said:

“He did a stupid reaction after the goal.You can be excited but you don’t have to pull your shirt off because then you have a yellow card. It is not so smart.”

Manchester United boss, Louis Van Gaal rebukes fellow Dutchman Robin Van Persie for taking off his jersey while celebrating his 94th minute equaliser against Chelsea. It was the first time since 9 December 2012 that United scored in injury time to either draw or snatch a victory.

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Van Persie was booked by referee Phil Dowd for the infringement.

What he really meant:

“Couldn’t he have waited till the game was over to celebrate? He held back till the 94th minute, didn’t he?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about tiny-necked shirts for the players? That way, they’ll think twice about tearing them off especially when they’ll look like headless chickens with the tees draped around their heads…”

 

Roy Keane: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Roy Keane is unforgiving of critic Alex Ferguson.

What he said:

“… for him to criticise that when you think of what he made out of it. He made millions of pounds out of it. He got his statues. He got his stand named after him. To come back and criticise …”

What he really meant:

 “Alex Ferguson is a great coach, he coached me. And he made millions. But so did I. Did I criticise him? Or his assistant coaches? And why isn’t a stand named after me?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“The reproval had nothing to do with me shooting off my mouth on MUTV about not staying with United before discussing it with Fergie. Definitely not.”

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Louis Van Gaal: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Louis Van Gaal

What he said:

“It’s very important for a club such as Manchester United to have guardians of its culture.”

Manchester United’s new coach, Louis Van Gaal, hopes that the culture of the club will be retained with the introduction of fresh blood—youngsters—who have the ethos of the club ingrained in their DNA.

“Every youth player who comes through can be a guardian. The ‘Class of 92’ [Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Neville and Scholes] were guardians of the club’s culture. You need very good youth education so you have always more players who can become guardians.

Wayne Rooney is also a guardian of this culture now as captain and he can transfer this culture to his fellow players.”

Van Gaal intends to repeat his success in creating fresh cores at his former clubs with United.

He said:

“I did it with Barcelona where I gave debuts to Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol and [Victor] Valdes. At Bayern Munich, we had [Holger] Badstuber, [Thomas] Muller and [David] Alaba who can guard the culture. I also want to do that here but the youth players have to take their chance when they receive it.”

What he really meant:

“Organizational culture cannot be created overnight. It is a gradual process and MU’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits will be imbibed by the players and affect the way they perceive, think and even feel.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“In simpler terms, I need easily influenced youth who I can then brainwash.”

Johan Cryuff: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Johan Cryuff

What he said:

“…You can’t arrange the chemistry of the team in two weeks. It needs time.” 

Dutch footballing legend Johan Cryuff is sympathetic to his countryman Louis Van Gaal’s troubles in rebuilding Manchester United.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said:

“I don’t know because they almost bought and created a new team. So now you have to fix it together – the team itself. It’s not a question anymore about the quality of the players, or are they good enough. But to make a mixture of good players is very difficult.”

On United’s transfer policy:

“There should be a logic always, but the big problem is to manage all these players. It’s the same thing with Barcelona. They now have Suárez, Messi, Neymar – how do you play them together? If you see them individually then they are great players. It’s the same at Manchester United. Individually they are great but they have to play like a team.

Then you get another problem. They are all famous. They earn a lot of money both on and off the field. How can you create a team and bring all these egos together? The main goal for Manchester United is for them to play well – and not have a player saying, ‘I play well, I scored two goals’. Because if I score two goals but three goals go into our net then we lose. They provide [Van Gaal] with a lot of good players but he has to turn them into a team. And you can’t arrange the chemistry of the team in two weeks. It needs time.

On whether it will take United a full season to regain their preeminent position:

“No, no. That’s too long. But it doesn’t mean they will win the league. But you can see a better performance every week and you can aim for a better fit as a team in the details. And [Van Gaal] is a person of details. So it could be possible that things work. But, once again, can these people develop their own game for the sake of the team? It’s not easy.”

On their respective soccer philosophies:

“No. Not much. We’re both Dutch and that is always a [shared] basis. But I always think of being in charge of the speed and of the ball. Maybe he knows more than me but I always want control of the ball. When I don’t have control of the ball what do I do? I press to get it back. It’s a way of defending. But more important is that I like to have the ball.

Van Gaal has a good vision of football but it is not mine. He wants to gel winning teams and has a militaristic way of working with his tactics. I want individuals to think for themselves.
…I’ve always been an individual who likes to create something himself within a team performance. I am happy if my players start thinking. [Pep] Guardiola is a good example. As a player he was tactically perfect but he can’t defend. That’s what he said. I said: ‘I agree – in a limited way. You’re a bad defender if you have to cover this whole area. But if you have to defend this one small area then I think you’re the best. Take care that there are people there to help you cover the other areas. As long as you do that you can be a very good defender.’ And he did become very good.

That’s why I believe in individual coaching sessions to prepare players properly. You have to take care of the individual for the benefit of the team – as our work with Guardiola showed.”

Tangentially:

“Football is now all about money. There are problems with the values within the game. And this is sad because football is the most beautiful game. We can play it in the street. We can play it everywhere. Everyone can play it but those values are being lost. We have to bring them back.

In the Premier League the money is a problem but I don’t really know how to control it. If you look at England or even Spain you see the problems. How many England players are in the first four teams in the Premier League? How many Spanish forwards are playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid?”

On Pep Guardiola, whom Cryuff considers his natural successor (not Van Gaal):

“Yes, he’s got it. Normally I would say that the most important thing for a coach is that he [overcame] difficulties when he was young. Look at Guardiola and myself. Like me he was very thin and he had to take care of his technique. You see it with Iniesta and Messi too. They must do something quick otherwise they will never get there. It means that they are aware of all the details. You have to think quicker and see more things. And if you see more things you can help more people.”

What he really meant:

 “It’s a slow reaction—a slow burn if you’d like to term it so. It takes time for the team to reach ignition.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Two Weeks Notice—that’s all coaches and players need.”

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