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…Lacking Touchline Instructions; The Man U Misfortunes


By Ridwan Adeola Yusuf

He has been criticized that his side play boring football; He is also a boring character. If kicking and screaming do not change referees’ mind according to van Gaal, it certainly do change the psyche of the players on the pitch. Be on the touchline for the players primarily and secondarily for the referees. A stitch in time saves nine. A football match is minute by minute till the 90th. If you a coach waited for the half-time team-talk to correct his players, what if humongous damage was done in the first half? The humiliation of Arsenal in October last year buttresses this point.

The United had their game-plan-to play more compact, but were stunned by The Gunners with three superb goals in the first 20 minutes. At that point, the game with huge significance was already over for the Red-Army! Assuming when Alexis Sanchez scored his first on six minutes, the Manchester United coach had identified where the game went wrong, and called his players’ attention to the error at that moment, the second Arsenal goal, played at the same huge pace as they did to get their first and subsequent third might have been averted. But Van Gaal will never stand! Instead, he sat piggishly as usual; not communicating until the disaster became beyond repair was wrecked. Van Gaal’s thought that screaming on the technical-area does not change the officials’ mind could be faulted.

In English Football, the most successful Manager of all-time, Sir Alex Ferguson was known with the antic of “Fergie Time”, with the 74-year-old Scot standing on the touchline and gesturing towards his watch to influence the referee and his side’s opponent(s). Arguably, the gesture worked pretty well in his 27 years in charge of the Old Trafford outfit.

In April 1993, Steve Bruce scored in the 97th minute to clinch a 2-1 win for United against Sheffield Wednesday, which set up United’s first league title since 1967. In the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final in Spain, United scored two stoppage time goals to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1. And some six years ago, Michael Owen scored in the sixth minute of injury time, despite the fourth official having indicated four minutes to be added. That was the influence of “The Fergie Time”- to intimidate match day officials.

Do United still witness many late equalizers or winners in the van Gaal era? Heck no! Van Gaal, an individual with big ego is proving lazy. Sometimes ago, he admitted he is overpaid for doing nothing! In this era, he delegates duties to his assistants, youth-team coaches, scouts and just sit down to take notes like a secretary.

If he claims, he does not agree with the idea of standing on the touchline, then why not delegating his deputy, Ryan Giggs to dish out instructions to the lads, notably when they were embarrassed by Norwich City at home? Utility Giggs is a product of “Fegie” and he masters the art very well. Van Gaal must be able to pass his philosophy not only to his players but so also, his coaching staff. But, he allowed Giggs.

Ridwan is a Youth Corps Member In Ilorin, Kwara State

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