Wednesday 11 December 2019

Hiddink v Van Gaal - how the managers fared

Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink appeared to have a slight edge over rival Louis van Gaal
Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink appeared to have a slight edge over rival Louis van Gaal

Manchester United lost further ground in their pursuit of Champions League qualification, despite a reasonably impressive 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

Guus Hiddink has a long-term rivalry with under-pressure United counterpart Louis van Gaal and, h ere, Press Association Sport evaluates how the Dutch managers fared in what could be their last encounter against one another.


Neither deserve criticism for their starting line-ups, given they were both unchanged and simply chose not to over-complicate matters. With players of the quality of Memphis Depay and Ander Herrera on the bench, Van Gaal will always be vulnerable if his team struggles but, even if Chelsea were the superior team, United were far from poor. Similarly, Hiddink started with Eden Hazard and Pedro as substitutes, but Oscar performed well until the former replaced him with the score at 0-0, demonstrating Hiddink's desire to win. Arguably, Hiddink's team was superior and his substitutes helped change the game, while Van Gaal was unable to help United defend their lead. Verdict: HIDDINK


Both teams in many ways cancelled each other out for the majority and, despite the reputations of the two managers, this was not a particularly tactical affair. Both defended reasonably well but, put simply, Chelsea simply displayed greater quality, variety and confidence than United, who wasted a fine chance to secure an impressive victory. Van Gaal could have tried to prevent Diego Costa's equaliser earlier, especially after seeing Pedro and Hazard introduced. The United boss eventually brought on Morgan Schneiderlin for Marouane Fellaini in the 79th minute, but by then Chelsea had significant momentum. Hiddink did not panic and encourage his team to go long, resulting in the goal they deserved. Verdict: HIDDINK


For such a long-term rivalry - and what is likely the last fixture between two managerial greats - there was no sense of an attempt to settle scores or anything remarkable about their encounter. Van Gaal has greater priorities, while Hiddink - unsurprisingly given his relaxed manner - did little to attempt to increase the pressure on his compatriot. Van Gaal appeared to criticise the fourth official in stoppage time, but b oth managers will know a draw is a reasonable result. Verdict: DRAW


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