Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been found guilty of breaching rules set out by the Football Association in relation to media comments earlier today, but escaped with a warning rather than any fine or touchline ban.
Van Gaal's 'everything is against us' speech before the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Cambridge United last month brought him his first charge of that type in 30 years of management, but in truth it was all entirely avoidable.
The Dutchman's been around long enough to know neutrals love an underdog in a clash between David and Goliath in domestic cup competitions, so what is there to be gained from ramming that point home at every opportunity ahead of games against the might of Yeovil Town, Cambridge and Preston?
Change of tact required in press conferences
Van Gaal's comments weren't too serious and the lack of a concrete punishment from the FA is proof of that fact, although it does show the Dutchman implied bias on the part of officials when taking charge of cup ties involving two teams of very different stature.
United's under-pressure coach should choose his battles more carefully, because there may soon come a time when he has a far more serious grievance over a decision in the Premier League but is simply accused of becoming nothing more than a tiresome nag because of past actions.
Deflecting attention away from poor performances
Van Gaal's comments can also be easily be viewed in a more sinister light, a calculated ploy to take attention away from what has been a string of frankly dull displays against opposition United should beat easily.
Monday night's 3-1 win over Preston North End was a prime example. Yes United secured safe passage to the quarter-finals, but in truth they struggled desperately to break Preston down for an hour and only came back from a goal down thanks to a spirited fightback late on.
United have lost just once in 19 matches, but Red Devils fans demand performances and a style of football to match success and given a club-record £150m spend in the transfer market last summer that view is entirely justifiable.
It's been something of a learning process for Van Gaal when it comes to dealing with thr English media over the last six months, he'll do well to take today's warning on the chin and adapt accordingly to get attention back on the things he can control moving forward.
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