Tuesday 23 January 2018

How Manchester United stars turned on Louis van Gaal - in their own words

Louis van Gaal is clearly a tough man to deal with
Louis van Gaal is clearly a tough man to deal with

The Manchester United dressing room is reportedly in revolt, with a number of players taking umbrage to the manner in which Louis Van Gaal has handled various issues.

The prominence given to a video analyst, Max Reckers, as well as the harsh treatment dished out to cult hero Rafael (who has since moved to Lyon after making over 100 appearances for United) are thought to be at the top of a long list of player concerns.

It would appear Van Gaal is not a popular manager. A number of players he has moved on have openly criticised the renowned disciplinarian, with everything from his man-management, to his tactics, to his honesty called into question. Here, we list some of those illuminating reactions.


Sold to Lyon, in August 2015.

"I know that (Van Gaal) didn’t like me, but if that’s because I’m Brazilian, I don’t know. I was going well, then Ferguson left. That change was fatal for me."

Manchester United's Rafael da Silva


Loaned to Sporting, in August 2014. Sold to Fenerbahçe, in July 2015.

(When asked if LVG had been in contact with him...) "No. I receive some texts from Ed Woodward. He texted me about the goal I scored recently and the great season I am having here.

I used to speak to Antonio Valencia, but I changed my number so it's difficult."


Robin Van Persie

Sold to Fenerbahçe, in July 2015.

"When he took over Holland, he said to me, “You’re the No 3 striker.” I was like “O...K...” but I fought and became the No 1 and his captain. But when I came back (from injury), it wasn’t an honest battle any more.

'Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t given to me as an option. I know Louis as a national team coach and now I get to know him as a club coach. And there is a difference."

Robin van Persie of Manchester United reacts after missing a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford

Angel Di Maria

Sold to PSG, in July 2015.

"Van Gaal has his philosophy, and that is one of the things that made me want to leave. It is difficult to adapt to Van Gaal. I had a couple of rows with him."


Tom Lawrence

Sold to Leicester City, in September 2014.

“Van Gaal called me in for a meeting in his office when the season started and read out a list of players. He said: ‘These players are all ahead of you in the order’. He was straight to the point and told me I wasn’t in the first-team plans.

Sir Alex was a brilliant influence on my career and gave me my first professional contract, and he has a proven track record of bringing the younger lads through. He gave me my chance and I’ll never forget that. But it wasn’t going to work out under the new manager."


Radamel Falcao

Loaned from Monaco, in September 2014. Now on loan at Chelsea.

(On LVG's tactics) "Maybe the football philosophy is a little different here in that it is always about getting the ball forward and there is less time when teams are just trying to control the ball and take the heat out of the game."


Saidy Janko

Sold to Celtic, in July 2015.

"Louis van Gaal didn’t really speak to me – it was more Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt. I had some options but after meeting the manager at Celtic I wanted to come here."


Javier Hernandez

Sold to Bayer Leverkusen, in August 2015.

"I want to go back to feeling important and happy. I want to find happiness. Bayer made me feel important and loved and coming here was not a difficult decision to make. They made me feel wanted."

Javier Hernandez.jpg
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez

Wilfried Zaha

Sold to Crystal Palace, in August 2014.

"There is nothing worse than not being involved. You are sitting there thinking 'what exactly am I? A footballer who is not playing football? You feel a bit worthless sitting in the stands, watching all the time. You have nothing to speak about with the players. I'm frustrated when I am not playing. My family is frustrated. My friends are frustrated."


Ben Amos

Released in July 2015.

"You could say that the arrival of Victor (Valdes) was the final nail in the coffin. Pre-season, I was told I was number two. With the cup games, if I’d got a sniff of that, that would have made it worthwhile sticking around for. As soon as Victor was brought in, I was essentially demoted to fourth really. Fourth-choice goalkeeper, you’ve got to move on.

A new manager’s come in at United and I’ve been hanging on, being a United fan, thinking maybe this is my chance. If I’m being totally honest because I am a United fan is why I’ve hung around a little bit more than I should have."


Tom Thorpe

Released in July 2015.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the United fans that have sent me messages of support over the last season. They have all asked the same question and all I can say is "it's not for the want of trying". My ambition has and will always be, to play for Manchester United.

I will always remain grateful to United for the fantastic coaching I have received and for the success we have experienced in the academy over the last 15 years. I would like to thank; Mark Dempsey, Paul McGuinness and I would especially like to thank Warren Joyce for his guidance, encouragement and inspirational coaching techniques - I think even Coach Carter consults him!"


Danny Welbeck

Sold to Arsenal, in September 2014.

(On LVG's public criticism of him) "Everyone is entitled to their opinion - some you like, some you don't. It's football, it's life. You deal with it."

Danny Welbeck's future at Manchester United is under intense speculation

Marnick Vermijl

Sold to Sheffield Wednesday, in February 2015.

"It's all a big disappointment. Under the previous coach, David Moyes, it was agreed that I would go (on tour). Van Gaal took me aside on Thursday and said he would take two players per position to the US. In my case that would be Rafael and Chris Smalling at right back. He said that it's a limited group and that 'I could take you but you wouldn't get any minutes'.

I had imagined my first encounter with Van Gaal would be different."


Victor Valdes

Still at the club (just).

“I was very lucky to have so many seasons with [Guardiola]. In addition to being a teacher to many of us, he was always able to communicate greatly with everyone and knowing how to adapt to talk to different people in the dressing room. That’s the most challenging thing for a coach, to adapt their own pride to be able to speak to everyone with their different egos.

I have walked the path with discipline but it has brought me thousands of moments of suffering.”

Victor Valdes has made two appearances since joining Manchester United in January

(But at least somebody likes him...)

Darren Fletcher

Sold to West Brom, in February 2015.

"The manager knows football and he has great belief in his methods that they will work and everyone has to buy into that. If anybody isn’t it won’ t work, but I think the United lads are buying into it and believe in it.

I was impressed with him. He is a good man and an honest man. He was fantastic with me. We had a great relationship. I learned a lot even in the short time I was with him. He is learning about the Premier League as well."

Mata (right) is chased by West Brom's Darren Fletcher during Saturday's match at Old Trafford

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