The reporters fear Van Gaal to question him in the press room, the opposition manager will be scared to shake Van Gaal’s hand after United lose a match, the tea ladies may fear him if they accidentally add an extra spoon of sugar in his evening tea, but does his own players fear him? Well they might be if one has to believe Ronald Koeman, Southampton manager.
Van Gaal’s former colleague and the present enemy Koeman has stated that Louis Van Gaal asserts his authority on a dressing room by striking fear into his players. Koeman worked with the Manchester United boss as a player and a coach at Barcelona, but the duo fell out when they filled the respective roles of head coach and sporting director at Ajax.
Koeman feels that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager’s over confidence in himself will result in disputes at the dressing room. “When you bring Van Gaal in the house, you bring in quality, but you also bring in someone who thinks he knows everything and that will cause clashes,” Koeman said in the Daily Mirror.
“When you have Van Gaal in charge, it is a fact that there is fear in his team. The players have a fear for Mr. Van Gaal. That is not always good,” he said.
Koeman added that he does not treat the players the same way Van Gaal treats his players by putting so much pressure on them. “There is a big difference between him and me as managers. I was his assistant at Barcelona after the World Cup in 1998. I learned a lot of things from him, but the way he handles his players is totally different from the way I work. I don’t put as much pressure on the shoulder of players,” he said.
Koeman did not stop there as he went on to suggest the Dutch Football Federation were eager to appoint a less confrontational character following Van Gaal’s departure after the World Cup last summer.
“After Van Gaal coached the Dutch national team at the World Cup, the Dutch federation had to decide to bring in a manager who would bring in a soft touch. The players needed an arm around their shoulder. A manager who is calmer than Van Gaal,” he said.
Ronald Koeman’s name was also mentioned before the Dutch job was handed to the experienced Guus Hiddink following Van Gaal’s departure. This may be a way of breaking the silence for Koeman about his frustration after being denied the opportunity to coach his national team last summer.
The confrontation between the duo is not a new one, as early as last month, the Southampton boss had laughed off his old foe’s suggestion that it could take United three years to get back to their best by claiming Van Gaal has the players to challenge for the title this season.
Ronald De Boer seems to conquer Koeman’s view on United’s recent struggles. He believes Louis van Gaal will be privately unhappy with the football Manchester United are playing and says his former manager is struggling at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal claimed last week that United players finally understand his philosophy and said his side’s record was the best in the Premier League in recent months. To prove him wrong, United then suffered only their second defeat in 20 games at Swansea the very next day.
De Boer, who played for Van Gaal at Ajax and Barcelona and during his first spell in charge of the Netherlands, told Talksport “Van Gaal is struggling a little bit at Manchester United.”
“Not with the amount of points he’s got, but with his style. It’s not the way he wants to play. He’s fighting to get there. At the moment it’s not the football that we are used to with Louis” he said.
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