Sunday 4 December 2016

Boo me not the players, urges Van Gaal

Published 06/11/2015 | 12:51

Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United fans to get behind his players
Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United fans to get behind his players

Louis van Gaal insists he is ready to deal with any flak that comes with his way at Old Trafford this weekend.

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Van Gaal urged Manchester United fans to boo him, rather than the team, if they are unhappy with how things are going in Saturday's home match against West Brom.

The United manager felt his players were affected by the tense atmosphere inside Old Trafford during the narrow 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.

United fans booed loudly when Van Gaal replaced Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini and "We're Man United, we want to attack" was regularly sung by the home support, who had become annoyed at the often sterile, possession-based football the Dutchman enjoys so much.

Van Gaal admits supporters are entitled to their opinion, but believes negativity is seeping through to the players.

''The supporters have to support the players, otherwise they make it very difficult for the players to play at Old Trafford,'' he said.

'I can only advise the fans to criticise the manager and not the players. It's very difficult to play for Manchester United with a lot of pressure and you can taste that in Old Trafford because of all the yelling, then it's not good for my players.

''It's better to whistle the manager."

Despite boasting an impressive CV, Van Gaal has encountered opposition from supporters throughout his 24-year management career.

Ajax fans resisted his appointment as manager as Van Gaal was an enemy of club hero Johan Cruyff. And when Van Gaal returned to Barcelona for a second spell as manager, he lasted six months after the supporters turned on him.

Given the torrid year they endured under David Moyes, United supporters still are mindful that it would be too far to stage an open revolt against Van Gaal, especially when the Red Devils are fourth in the league and on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.

But if any more negativity comes his way, Van Gaal is certainly ready for it.

"I can cope with it because I have had a lot of experience in my life as a manager,'' he added.

"When I started as a 39-year-old coach with Ajax, all the fans were shouting, from the very first day, 'Johan Cruyff', until we won the UEFA Cup and then it was finished.

"In Barca we had white handkerchiefs. In my first period we were champions, champions, and we won the cup, so it was not like that, but it my second period in Barcelona it was always the white handkerchiefs.

"In Bayern Munich, I had the same in my second year, so I, as a manager, am used to these negative things, I think.

"But the number of fans is, of course, much higher with Manchester United, because we have the most fans in the world."

When it was put to him that he could win the fans over, as he did with Holland, Van Gaal said: "I hope that your words make it true."

For now, Van Gaal's main challenge is overcoming a West Brom team who are likely to be just as defensively-minded as CSKA were on Tuesday.

Last season the Baggies played in a rigid 5-4-1 formation and won all three points after Chris Brunt's free-kick struck Jonas Olsson and beat David de Gea.

United went into the last two international breaks on the back of defeats and the Dutchman does not want a repeat this time.

"It has happened to us twice now, against Swansea and Arsenal. It is awful," Van Gaal said.

"Now we are playing at home, but we are playing at home against a team who we lost against last season here, so it shall be difficult.

"But I hope we win, then we can have a fortnight after we have won, and not lost.

Van Gaal will give a late test to Morgan Schneiderlin, who missed the match against CSKA through illness.

''He shall train today (Friday) for the first time so we have to wait and see,'' Van Gaal told MUTV.

Press Association

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