Home Football How Van Gaal Is Sucking The Soul Out Of Manchester United

How Van Gaal Is Sucking The Soul Out Of Manchester United

After another win for Louis Van Gaal and another dreadful performance from Manchester United, John Murphy looks at how the Dutch manager is dismantling The Red Devils’ identity.  

There is something missing in Manchester. A heart, a soul, passion, flare, blood & thunder… call it what you will. It has vanished from the so called Theatre of Dreams.

Less than two years ago, United claimed the Premier League crown at a canter. Since then, they have invested over £200 million into strengthening their squad. Yet somehow, they have become considerably worse.

How? What is Van Gaal doing that is causing Manchester United to play such loveless football?


The Removal of Instinct

Over recent weeks, many have noticed something strange occurring when United gain possession. With three or four players removed from their opposition’s defence, United will senselessly play the ball sideways or backwards rather than burst forward in attack.

This comes from their manager.

Louis Van Gaal preaches a style of football that is free from instinct. Players are urged to think, to ponder and consider their next move rather than to act impulsively. This is, in no uncertain terms, utter nonsense.

Ask any striker who finishes with an audacious flick or a number ten who sets a team mate through on goal with one touch… ask them what their thought process was and watch their face crumble into confusion.

Football is a fast game and so much of its beauty lies in the impulse and instinct that such a pace demands. Remove instinct and you kill the game. You kill the speed until you’re left with… well, Van Gaal’s Manchester United.

The Removal of Confidence:

Under The Iron Tulip, Radamel Falcao and Juan Mata have recently been deemed surplus to requirements while Angel Di Maria is hardly recognizable from the star Real Madrid player of last season.

18 months ago, Juan Mata was one of the most coveted talents in the Premier League. Repeatedly voted Chelsea’s player of the season, the Spanish play-maker was more than worthy of a ‘world class’ label.

18 months ago, Radamel Falcao was viewed as one of the most lethal strikers in world football. A cruciate injury certainly set him back, however his baffling fall from grace is surely down to more than a recovered injury.

Van Gaal’s selection frequently supposes that Marouane Fellaini is a better attacking midfielder than Juan Mata. It supposes that Radamel Falcao is simply a bit part player and it supposes that Ashley Young is better than Angel Di Maria.

The Dutchman’s player management is borderline laughable. With the squad Manchester United have available for selection, they should be competing for the league.

Instead, they have a manager who will not believe in them or let them play.

The Removal Of Logic

I’ve said it before but to Gaal with it, I’ll say it again. When Phil Jones plays, he takes the corners. Throw logic out the window and you may as well toss your sanity out with it. If that isn’t soul destroying, I don’t know what is.


It is now March. The season has entered the final quarter and Manchester United look as dismal as they did at this stage last year. Yet somehow, they remain in top four and for United fans the goal of Champions League football is within reach.

The problem is that in all likelihood, it isn’t.

United’s next six league fixtures feature Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. They also face the Gunners before the end of the season. On current form Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs are all far superior footballing sides and a quick glance at the fixture list would suggest that United are not far from being caught.

In fact, on current form there is little doubt. Manchester United will not make the top four.

Their position in the table is at present purely cosmetic and one has to wonder what will happen once the cover-up is removed from The Iron Tulip’s visage? What will happen when United tumble down to 5th or 6th, how long will they tolerate this football when a place in Europe is removed and they see King Louis in the cold light of day?

Where is the fire gone? Where is the explosive instinct that defined the “United way”? Under the reign of The Iron Tulip, it is now safe to say that the “United way” is dead and gone. It’s with Matt Busby in the grave. 


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