It is reported by the Daily Mail that part of Van Gaal’s strict regime, something his under-performing players have been taken aback by somewhat, includes confiscating personal phones to ensure complete focus prior to matches.
Many of the Manchester United squad will, of course, already be used to this, having been required to follow the same protocol under Ferguson, with the then manager making this rule in order to avoid any potential leaks of team news.
But these draconian measures were loosened following the appointment of David Moyes, although it was something that resulted in the much maligned Scot being further undermined by his frustrated players.
Team news leaks began to flow and Moyes took the decision to ban David McDonnell, a reporter from The Mirror, from his press briefings after he had utilised contacts within the club to publish starting XIs before their official release.
It would appear, however, that there will be little chance of anyone in the Van Gaal camp revealing details to members of the press, such is the hard line approach the former Netherlands coach takes against any indiscipline.
In the past Van Gaal has sanctioned fines against players who attend lunch even one minute late, while the players at Manchester United - both first-team and youth - required to eat together each day at 1pm.
Miroslav Klose recently commented that he struggled to cope with the demands of Van Gaal during their time spent together at Bayern Munich, stating that he “didn’t feel free” during his seemingly dictatorial regime at the Allianz Arena.
Is it working?
But those who do invest in the Van Gaal philosophy tend to flourish. Robin van Persie is a player who revels in the “intense” environment Van Gaal creates on the training field, and previously hailed the “special relationship” he enjoyed with the manager.
At the moment, however, Van Gaal has not been able to summon the best from the vast majority of the players currently at his disposal. He has been at pains to publicly manage the expectations of Manchester United supporters, despite the significant transfer window spending, but Van Gaal needs to click with his players sooner rather than later.
It is early days, of course, but should Manchester United continue to struggle to hit their straps, reports about aversion to Van Gaal’s methods will continue to emerge.
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