Despite the underwhelming performances from Manchester United this season, few can doubt the efficacy of Louis van Gaal's philosophy. They sit third in the Premier League table, just one point behind joint leaders Manchester City and Leicester City.
However, the methods to Van Gaal's madness is grating on the first-team, with one club source saying the lack of "banter" is damaging squad morale and having a detrimental effect on performances.
As the Daily Mail claims, changes brought in by the Dutchman following his arrival in 2014 have irked a number of senior stars, including a particularly grueling dinner routine.
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Manchester United players stay in the team hotel the night before home matches and, under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, they were given the evening to relax following a 5pm meal.
However, Van Gaal has eradicated that free time, instead forcing players to sit through tedious meetings about tactics, sometimes lasting over three hours. That is followed by a 10.30pm bedtime, assuming they are still awake following the analysis.
This, coupled with endless repetition of training ground drills, is how Van Gaal instills his infamous 'philosophy' into the team, but players are being systematically worn down both mentally and physically.
Double training sessions are leaving them sore while extensive scrutiny of their performances via video is leaving them petrified to express themselves.
A source told the Mail:
"There’s no fun, no banter — just lots of meetings. The body language of the players isn’t right, and there’s no expression when they go out to play."
Points win prizes
But so long as he wins trophies, Van Gaal will leave Old Trafford with an enhanced reputation. Indeed, the 64-year-old has won titles in three different countries, but players at Bayern Munich and Barcelona have been less than complimentary about him since.
"We had problems on a human basis," Franck Ribery told Goal in April. "When he started, nobody knew what was going to happen.
"His idea was that he did not care about names at all, you don't need stars, everybody had to prove themselves again.
"The first contact with him was already poisoned. As a professional you lose your trust. He does great things on the pitch, but the coach Van Gaal was a bad man. Our relationship was crushed."
It appears there will be several Manchester United stars singing a similar tune once his tenure comes to an end.
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