Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is not your typical Premier League coach.
When he took over United in July, his first two orders of business were declaring his team “broken” and forcing a player he bought for $US50 million to practice by himself.
Things have not gotten much better since then. After a home loss to Swansea and an away draw at Sunderland in the first two weeks of the Premier League season, van Gaal’s team suffered one of the worst losses in club history on Tuesday, falling to MK Dons 4-0 in the League Cup.
MK Dons plays in the third tier of English soccer, two divisions below the EPL.
It’s an unmitigated disaster for United.
Instead of ripping into his team after the game, van Gaal went the opposite direction. He said they were “unlucky” and hampered by injuries in a fantastic post-match interview.
The money quote:
“You don’t have to forget that we have nine injures and we have a very young team. I have seen them trying to do their utmost best. So you cannot expect more of players. Of course, we were also unlucky because they scored out of our errors at once.”
He also said, “In the second half, we created a lot of chances. We didn’t have the luck to score. But at least we have created a lot of chances.”
Van Gaal spends the rest of the interview explaining why it will take more than a year to build a proper team, and tells fans they should continue to believe in his philosophy.
Here’s the video (via balls.ie):
Delusional? Or brilliant? We’d say the latter.
For months van Gaal has been trying to lower expectations at every turn. Before the season he said it would take his team 10 weeks to adapt to his playing style. After the loss to Swansea he said he needed “better players.”
How could results matter when I’m busy constructing one of the greatest teams the world has ever seen?!, seems to be the general idea van Gaal is trying to plant in the heads of United supporters.
Later in the interview, van Gaal even downplayed the impact $99-million winger Angel Di Maria will make when he joins the team this week, saying, “We don’t have to expect that tomorrow the world has been changed. No, no. He has to adapt also to the culture of England, the culture of the Premier League, and the culture of Manchester United.”
His post-match interview after the MK Dons loss was a masterclass in mind gaming.
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