Louis Van Gaal was known to be very hard on his players at Manchester United – so much so that he eventually lost the dressing room. Contrary to his harsh treatment of his players generally, some senior players were know to have grown frustrated by the ‘special treatment’ afforded to experienced German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who has just four first team appearances since January.
It is thought the relationship was so poor that he would not have survived a player coo even if his team had qualified for the Champions League.
Additionally, recent reports suggest that Van Gaal tried very much to control everything they did on the pitch and rarely afforded them licence to take risks and express themselves. Players were restrained by his tactics, not empowered so much so that players regarded his tactics as too slow and methodical. He even instructed them not to shoot first time in the box and sought that they take a touch before shooting – at which point on numerous times, the scoring opportunity was lost.
Van Gaal, like many old school managers prefer an autocratic approach to their management. While this has shown to get results sometimes, it is often on a short term basis. Scientific studies have shown a more empowering approach to be a much better and sustainable model of management. Read more on this here
Keith Begley is an accredited sport psychologist with the Irish Institute of Sport.
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