Louis van Gaal has revealed that his muted touchline antics are a result of a spontaneous 'karate kick' during Ajax's victorious 1995 Champions' League final.
The Manchester United manager was unmoved by Wayne Rooney's winner against Liverpool on Sunday, whilst surrounding staff jumped around in celebration. This has led to critics labelling him a clipboard manager rather than the frantic, passionate type seen during the Sir Alex Ferguson years.
Even though his young Ajax side went on to beat AC Milan that night in Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium, the then 43-year-old was furious at Marcel Desailly's high challenge on striker Jari Litmanen. It went unpunished and, donning a shiny black suit, he made his feelings known to referee Ion Craciunescu.
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"I did a karate kick - about a foot away from the fourth official's face," Van Gaal reminisced to the Daily Mail. "We won 1-0 but we should have had a penalty for a high tackle on Litmanen. I was angry, I wanted to show him what had happened.
"It should have been a penalty, but the referee did not whistle for a penalty. And in that moment, I realised that a manager can never influence the referee by what he does on the touchline. I realised that you have to control your passion."
The Dutchman is aware that fans may be irked by having a mellow manager but he won't be changing his approach.
"I know a lot of fans like the manager to show he is angry and at Newcastle the other night I was angry when Jesse Lingard missed a chance to score. But I am a little bit older now."
His counterpart on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp, has a different approach to touchline passion. Just four days earlier he celebrated Joe Allen's dramatic equaliser against Arsenal by sprinting down the pitch and jumping in the air. Van Gaal sees his younger self in the Liverpool boss.
"When I started my career, I was like Klopp," he added. "Every manager has his own identity, his own personality and also his own philosophy. Sometimes I still come to the touchline because I am changing the players or I am trying to communicate with them, but I don't stand there for 90 minutes because I don't agree with that.
"I don't think the referees in England are influenced by what the manager does."
He clearly never watched during the Ferguson era! So do you think Van Gaal should show more passion? Feel free to debate this in the comment section below.
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