Louis van Gaal, the Dutch Master

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It never ceases to amaze me the gullibility of the public, especially the football public; in real terms most of whom wouldn’t know if it was blown up or stuffed!

Their opinions are taken entirely from the football ‘pundits’ on TV, and, when you realise that, among those, are numbered Robbie Savage and Alan Shearer, whose views on ‘good fouls’ and ‘diving now being part of the game’, that should, on its own, be enough to press the change-channel button. Their opinion on new Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal is a case in point. ‘LVG’ is now seemingly in the genius category as a football coach and, while bringing a Holland team which included SIX players who still play in the Dutch League to the latter stages of the competition is certainly a commendable one, the team’s progress to the semi-finals maybe bears a little closer scrutiny. Against Spain, they got a right chasing in the first half and resorted to thuggish tactics after the break. That, and some eccentric goalkeeping by Iker Casillas got them through. Australia should have beaten them but were undone by a last minute goal. In their last three games they scored ONE legal goal from open play, and that in the final minute! Not exactly a terrific CV is it? But where the media have lauded his genius most of all was in his decision to send on Tim Krul in the last minute of extra-time so he could face penalties against Costa Rica; a team, incidentally, which he had been unable to beat in 120 minutes! Two points here. Krul should have been his number one keeper all along as he is far superior to Cillissen. But maybe not at penalties. For the Newcastle United man had saved just TWO out of his last TWENTY. The fact that the potshot worked out doesn’t actually mean that it was anything other than a wild thrash in the first place.

If I were a Man United fan I’d prefer my manager’s ‘genius’ to be built on something more tangible. One thing I did like about him, though. With third choice goalkeeper, Vorm, the only player in the squad not to have figured in the competition, the decision to give him the last couple of minutes in the Brazil game was a nice touch.