Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal promises more "boring" meetings
Louis van Gaal has told his Manchester United players to prepare themselves for more "boring" meetings because he thinks they are working.
Van Gaal was in just as defiant a mood on Saturday night as he was on the eve of his team's morale-boosting 3-1 win over Liverpool.
The day after breaking into song mid-press conference to underline how he still had the support of his players and the fans, Van Gaal again poked fun at the stories of apparent unrest in the Old Trafford dressing room.
The United manager was at pains to point out that his team would not have taken the lead had they not planned and practiced the free-kick drill that led to Daley Blind's opener.
"I have to say the meetings about the set plays and the sessions about the set plays have paid off," he said.
"So I am very happy because the first goal was the deciding goal.
"We have a lot of meetings, you know," Van Gaal added with a grin.
David de Gea had made a successful return to action, Anthony Martial scored a stunning goal on debut and United recorded a big win over their most bitter rivals.
But Van Gaal was not totally happy with everything he saw on Saturday evening.
"As a manager you are never satisfied," he said.
"The fans are very satisfied, the fans are very pleased with David de Gea for example, but I have a criticism for him and I am sorry I have to say that. And that's for all the players.
"I want to improve every individual, but because of that you also improve the team performance, which is what we are doing.
"It means a lot of meetings and a lot of training sessions. I have heard the words 'boring' and 'too rigid', but it is like that.
"I think that every player has to be very happy with his profession because he makes from his hobby his living. Then you have to show your professional attitude."
Van Gaal said the players were "quiet" when he addressed them after the win.
There was no chance of muting the celebrations earlier that evening when Martial picked the ball up on the left flank and turned Martin Skrtel twice before jabbing the ball past Simon Mignolet to complete the win.
Just like Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick admitted he knew little about the French teenager until deadline day.
"I have to be totally honest, I didn't know an awful lot, no, like many, but I do now," said the United midfielder, who approached Van Gaal with Rooney about fears of low dressing room morale earlier this year.
"He is off the mark now. He has announced himself, everyone has seen it on the big stage. It's a good start for him. I am sure his confidence will be sky high after that.
"It's a good way to settle him and if that has raised expectation then so be it. That is part of the game."
Following two successive defeats expectations at Liverpool are low.
After going 1-0 down to Blind's curler, the Reds gifted United a second when Joe Gomez hacked Ander Herrera down in the box and he drove the resultant penalty into the roof of the net.
"Young Joe will learn you have to stay on your feet in the box," was Brendan Rodgers' message to the 18-year-old summer signing from Charlton.
Liverpool's strong start is now a thing of the past. Rodgers admits things will have to change fast to get the team back on track.
"We need to improve. We are not creating enough chances or building up the game fast enough," he said
"Technically we need to be better in order to keep the ball more."
The only positive for the Liverpool boss was the stunning overhead kick from Christian Benteke which made it 2-1 just moments before Martial killed off the game.
"I thought he was excellent," Rodgers said of the £32.5million Liverpool forward.
"There aren't too many players who score goals like that."