EPL : Louis van Gaal holds hold crisis talks with Senior Players
Louis van Gaal held crisis talks with senior Manchester United players following last Saturday’s disastrous 2-1 defeat against Norwich City at Old Trafford.
United captain Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata were among the most vocal players involved in the full and frank discussion with the Dutchman.
The latest exchange of views focused on his hardline training methods, the nature of his strict regime and the tactics used by the team on matchdays.
United’s players believe the club’s crippling injury list is being caused by over-training and have asked the Dutchman to ease off in some of the sessions.
Van Gaal is also facing a Spanish revolt by Mata and Ander Herrera, who fear their confused playing role at Old Trafford threatens their selection in Spain’s squad for the European Championship.
However, this week’s clear-the-air talks resulted in players and management reaching an agreement to work together in an attempt to get United’s season back on track.
Van Gaal is understood to have encouraged the dialogue between players and management after dressing-room morale sank to an all-time low under his leadership.
Van Gaal has also spoken with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward this week in an attempt to resolve some of the issues between the management and the players.
Although sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is angling for Van Gaal’s job, United are reluctant to dance to the Portuguese coach’s tune.
United believe they are a club of such standing and pedigree that they do not want to be dictated to by a manager who has lost nine times in the Premier League this season.
Woodward’s reputation is hanging on the success of Van Gaal, even though he was the club’s third choice to replace David Moyes behind Pep Guardiola and Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone in 2014.
Van Gaal, who has 18 months left on his contract, has now gone six games without a win. He is under huge pressure after United dropped out of the top four following an abysmal performance against Norwich.
United have not won in the Premier League since the 2-1 victory at Watford on November 21.
Van Gaal’s playing style has also been criticised by supporters this season, with fans frequently chanting ‘Attack attack attack’ during some of the most sterile football served up in living memory at the club.
Van Gaal met the club’s expectations last season when he took them back into the Champions League following their seventh-place finish in the aborted Moyes era.
The Dutchman has already fallen short of the target to reach the Champions League knockout phase after the 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg on December 8 bumped them into the Europa League.
But Van Gaal’s separate target — to finish in the top three of the Premier League and qualify automatically for the Champions League — is still possible.
United lie fifth, on goal difference, behind Tottenham. They travel to Stoke City on Boxing Day before hosting Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea at Old Trafford two days later.
Van Gaal may struggle to satisfy Mata and Herrera, whose dissatisfaction with the way they are being played may cause them to quit United in the summer if the Dutchman remains at the helm.
Van Gaal has never really explained why the 26-year-old has been so sparingly used but Herrera himself is aware that he should be in the prime of his career.
He also worries that, having played for Spain at Under 20, 21 and 23 level, his chances of breaking into Vicente del Bosque’s full squad are slim while he is not playing regular football.
Mata and Herrera are very close to United’s other high-profile Spaniard, goalkeeper David de Gea, and the trio have never been overly convinced about Van Gaal from the start.
Source : Daily Mai;