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- May 8, 2011
Manchester United stars in Louis van Gaal training row | The Times
A delegation of senior Manchester United players has confronted Louis van Gaal with concerns over his rigid training. Unhappy at what they see as stifling methods, the players asked the manager to be allowed to express themselves more freely.
The revelation comes after a stuttering start to the domestic campaign, in which United have scored three goals in four matches in the Barclays Premier League, and fans are demanding more emphasis on attacking adventure.
The concerns of fans over United’s style of play have been shared by the players. After discussions inside the dressing room, senior figures approached Van Gaal to raise complaints about a lack of creativity. They feel that training orders have become so inflexible that they are hampering performances.
The confrontation, several weeks ago, did not prompt any immediate change from the manager and United prepare to face Liverpool on Saturday on the back of a limp defeat by Swansea City before the international break.
The concern of the players is less to do with manpower, or squad strength, after a massive gross outlay under Van Gaal that is now close to £300 million, than the inflexibility of his methods. He has always been a very exact, demanding coach — and, at times, a fierce one — but players reared under Sir Alex Ferguson are still finding it hard to adjust, even into his second season.
Some, such as Chris Smalling, have clearly benefited, but there is a wider belief in the dressing room that Van Gaal would get much more from his players by allowing them to be more expressive. Van Gaal said last night that the success of his training methods was the reason why United have not suffered any injuries this season compared to the glut they encountered when he joined 14 months ago.