Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has sent his best festive wishes to the club’s millions of supporters around the world, who will be hoping their side can deliver an ideal Christmas present over the coming days.
Van Gaal, who is known to be far more prickly than affable, has shown a softer side with his message of good tidings to fans, while he also surprised journalists with a seasonal toast - accompanied by a glass of wine - at his press conference on Tuesday.
He even took the decision to give his Manchester United players Christmas day off - a gesture that may not have been afforded to him were it not for a recent six-match winning streak that has propelled them to third place.
The Dutchman has, however, recently bemoaned the extensive fixture list at this time of the year in England - congestion he has never previously encountered during his time spent managing in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.
"I am not happy - but I cannot change it - because I don't think it is good for the players that they play within two days of a (previous) match - two matches in two days. In December it shall be like that,” he said.
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"We also have family. I have a wife and kids, and grandchildren, and I cannot see them this Christmas.
"But I want to work in the Premier League, so I have to adapt, and I shall adapt.
"But I don't think it is good. It is not good for the players, nor for the family."
Manchester United meet Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day before travelling to White Hart Lane for an encounter with Tottenham two days later. Another testing away day comes on January 1, with Stoke City the opponents at the Britannia Stadium.
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