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Louis van Moyes

“We will try and do it (sign players), but from what I saw of the players, I’m more than happy with the players I’ve got.

“I thought they played really well, probably the best we’ve played this season.”

David M***s – 1st September 2013 after a limp 1-0 defeat to Liverpool. An ominous sign of things to come…

“The performance was one of the best in my period […]”I have a lot of options. I have chosen Chicharito, because he is another type from Rooney, and we have also Fellaini, who is another type, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker.”

Louis Van Gaal – 22nd August 2015 after a disappointing 0-0 home draw against an inconsistent, new Newcastle team.

The similarities are unerring. My initial reaction to M***s’ comments were shock and dismay. I’d always admired M***s’ quality at Everton of being a straight shooter, is his team were poor he’d say so and not insult everybody’s intelligence. United did not play well against Liverpool that day in a largely forgettable affair, they had plenty of the ball and did very little with it. M***s, however, refused to acknowledge reality in what would become a depressingly regular occurrence.

Sound familiar? Well Louis Van Gaal, evidently not satisfied with sharp, incisive and high tempo 4-3-3 which yielded good results for a brief period last season, decided to revert to what we saw before: Stale, dour, safety first football which has yielded just two goals in three league games – one own goal and a deflection.

Our reactions to Van Gaal’s comments were probably similar: Now hang on a second pal that’s a load of codswallop! We all saw these bloody games and United were utter rubbish to watch – bar a glimmer of hope against a depleted and third rate team from Belgium – and Januzaj and Fellaini are not strikers. Although they do look better strikers than United’s first choice number 9 right now. As for performances, United have only been impressive and successful in the same way the sour, middle aged office jobsworth successfully organises his desk.

Speaking of sour, middle-aged men, Rooney is starting to resemble one of those. He looks like a haggard has-been and considering how many miles on the clock he probably is. One stand out stat from the weekend was that Van Gaal’s current golden boy has played 300 senior games more than one-time transfer target and Chelsea new-boy, Pedro. Pedro is only one year Rooney’s junior…

Still, back to the boss, Van Gaal has begun to remind me of David M***s more and more of late. He doesn’t have the same look of constant surprise in his eyes but that total denial of reality is there. Insulting everybody’s intelligence by describing a match the rest of never saw. His description of United’s performances of late were as if he watched something akin to Hungary’s Magical Magyar team thump Ingerlund 6-3 at Wembley. Sure the first twenty five minutes was bright and breezy but once Serbian psychopath Mitrovic smacked the crossbar United reverted to groan-inducing possession based conservatism and late desperation.

Some may argue Mourinho did the same against Man City with his post-match comments, claiming his Chelsea team played well when they in fact deserved a far bigger thumping than the 3-0 one they got. However, Mourinho was casting an eye over Pedro and also in the midst of attempting to solve his lack of pace at the back with Baba Rahman and Harry Potter extra, John Stones. United’s now desperate need for someone to add pace, goals and the elusive and mysterious “first touch” to the attack looks increasingly like it won’t be addressed. Mourinho’s words may have been protecting his players but his actions said otherwise.

Not Van Gaal whose actions are married to his words. When United needed a goal on Saturday, Van Gaal threw on a holding midfielder, a striker he doesn’t want and most criminally, Antonio Valencia, increasingly looks like a bemused fan who happened to have his kit on and got lucky.

How did the delightful Ander Herrera wrong Van Gaal so badly too? He was the star man of the club’s renaissance last season, a man who finally reminded us why we enjoy watching United. A driving, creative, free spirit with a smile on his face, a song in his soul and a goal at the end of his boot. Him and Mata together looked like the future and they “got” playing for United too.

Instead Herrera has been dumped unceremoniously out of the team with no satisfactory explanation and Juan Mata’s influence has been marginalised to the right wing. Van Gaal’s quality is not in doubt, his track record is excellent but it is also littered with stubbornness and intractability to the point of committing Hari-Kari to prove a point. Just ask Bayern and Barca. One suspects Van Gaal would be happy with his team not winning provided they didn’t win his way carrying out his instructions to the letter. It was an approach that put the nails in Moyes’ coffin as he alienated fans and players.

Van Gaal has improved United from where they were before. Although considering the amount of money spent, it’s like saying the Ukrainian village of Pripyat is looking a tad perkier these days. The concern however, is that Van Gaal’s sheer, stubborn b***ard mentality overrides his quality and prevents United from being truly competitive again.

More Stories David Moyes Louis van Gaal Manchester United

8 responses to “Louis van Moyes”

  1. Red and Proud says:

    Surely the difference is that Van Gaal knows what he wants AND how he wants to play, and is assembling a squad capable of doing it week in, week out. He patently isn’t happy with the striking options but whenever he mentions anything the press, and the opposition, are all over it in a second and the danger is fees get inflated and other teams poach the players. There WERE positives in the Newcastle game but he is still looking for the extra creativity and pace in the final third. He will sort it out, and he will sign more talent

  2. Bruce says:

    I can’t really argue against any of that — I despair against ever seeing a proper United side again.

  3. robinhole says:

    I totally agree with you, how on earth will you have an herrera and resort to playing a januzaj in the no 10 position , it is tatamount to a capital punishment, I just can’t fathom it

  4. Elvis says:

    What LVG are good at:
    -spending big to buy flops
    -ending players career
    -make the club to look like a fool chasing star players

    He is much much worst than Moyes.

  5. Elvis says:

    And 1 more thing LVG is good at is to cheat or should I say “convince” their fans around the world that Manchester United was successful by ending the season 4th in the league and 17 points behind the leader.
    WTF… Come on Man utd were the champs just 2 years ago you stubborn old folk.

  6. Karl Moon says:

    Absolutely on the money, particularly about Herrera. For me he was our best outfield player last year. Dumped from the team for 4 months he returned and ran our team and we (almost) played some great football with him at the core. This season the formation has changed again, he’s gone and we, once again, became one of, if not the most boring team in the league to watch.. and if we see that as United fans, god knows the rest of the leagues fans hate watching us.

    We have a lot of issues and the spending of insane amounts of money with little to show for it could (and most likely will) have repercussions in the long term if we don’t start turning it around soon, but, as you said, Van Gaal has a track record of stubbornness. He won’t change. Ultimately I feel, unless he turns things around (or gets lucky as they say about him in the Netherlands) then we’ll be changing him in the Summer. Either Giggs gets the promotion or we take a punt on Guardiola, Conte or Klopp (though he would have to ditch the tracksuits), all 3 of which, at their very core, play football in a more entertaining, attacking manner… the kind we love.

    Van Gaal talking about players not understanding the Philosophy last year, or not understanding the United way this year… I’m sure I’m not the only one starting to think that he’s the odd one out here, the fraud, the one who doesn’t get ‘it’, the United way.

    Too risk averse, too stale, too predictable.

  7. Kobe says:

    Give him time but he too should focuss at better results. Also he should note we need a striker and a defender to be competators in Europe.

  8. Martin Palazzotto says:

    There are things to dislike about Van Gaal, I agree, but the “boring football” complaint is the wrong one to make. I’m not saying that United are thrilling to watch. Rather they have improved immensely from a defensive standpoint. Part of the reason is Herrera is not on the pitch and those who play better without the ball are.

    Shoring up the defense is the proper path to winning a title. Look at City or Chelsea. Yes they have creative players and open up against minnows but they know how and when to lock it down. Hazard struggled for playing time early in Mourinho’s return, as did Oscar. They learned that there was more to the game than creating goals. When they did they became regulars. Herrera must go through the same transformation or continue to sit. That is the culture Van Gaal is trying to bring to United, and it’s one of the things he’s got right.