Marouane Fellaini has spoken out and controversially claimed that the main reason David Moyes failed to make an impact in his first season at Manchester United was because he lacked a certain firmness that Louis van Gaal has managed to inject at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Scotsman endured a torrid first season in charge at Old Trafford and although he had originally signed as manager for six years, he was promptly dismissed by the club's hierarchy with Untied languishing in seventh place.
Although Moyes was hotly tipped to become a success story at United, following in fellow Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson's footsteps, his tenure the helm was nothing short of a shambles.
However, the man Moyes signed from former club Everton for an astonishing £27.5 million on transfer deadline day has revealed that his former manager lacked the tough-skin and grit required to succeed at the club.
Renaissance under LVG
The burly Belgian was scorned as the ultimate symbol of Moyes' mismanagement during the Scot's short-lived tenure, but appears to have asserted himself as a key part of Van Gaal's long-term plans this season. He has attributed his recent resurgence under the Dutchman to the hard-line approach adopted by the former Ajax manager.
“The coach is very strict, but that’s good. We needed such a coach," he said, according to the Daily Mirror.
“Last season, we had a bad season. We even missed European qualification. We needed a coach who would put some players’ feet back on the ground.
“If he says something, you should do it. Otherwise you’ll fly out of it [the team].
“If he has to take you off the pitch when the game hasn’t been going on for more than 30 minutes, he’ll do it. Or during half-time. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me yet."
Indeed, Fellaini's expensive teammates, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao among them, appear to have suffered most from this meritocratic approach adopted by Van Gaal.
Making an impact
The standing ovation received by the Belgian when he came off as a substitute after scoring one and assisting another during United's clash with top-four rivals Tottenham will have been music to the ears of the man who has so often been the laughing stock of Old Trafford.
Although United have come in for some heavy criticism due to their apparent long ball approach, this would appear to suit the big Belgian, who has thrived under Van Gaal's management in recent weeks.
Whereas the former Everton man was deployed in a more defensive position under Moyes, prompting accusations of the Scotsman trying to turn United into an upgraded Everton, Van Gaal has been keen to fit Fellaini into his system by playing to the Belgian's strengths.
For these efforts, the Dutchman has been praised by United's former first-team assistant coach Phil Neville who has revealed: "You also have to give Louis van Gaal credit. He has not been afraid of playing to Fellaini’s strengths despite being criticised for doing so. I think he has come up trumps".
One can therefore assume that Van Gaal's doggedness, particularly his refusal to bow down to fan and media pressure, is the main reason why he has been able to win over the Old Trafford faithful and inject new life into United's former 'white horse'.
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