Louis van Gaal thought virtual reality could improve Manchester United

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No matter what Louis van Gaal tried, he never truly managed to get his Manchester United team going during two seasons at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman tinkered with different players, formations and strategies in a bid to steer the Red Devils back towards the peak of English football.

But for all the world-class quality in his expensively assembled squad, Van Gaal could only produce a fourth and fifth-place finish in each of his Premier League campaigns.


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Although the former Netherlands and Bayern Munich boss’s United tenure will largely be remembered as a failure, there is no doubting he made a genuine effort to turn things around at the club.

In fact, it seems Van Gaal was willing adopt some rather unusual methods to get best out of his playing group.

The Daily Mail reports that the 65-year-old was considering the idea of introducing virtual reality headsets to training sessions at Carrington.

Van Gaal – who was eventually axed in May to make way for Jose Mourinho – saw good reason to utilise the technology as a means of offering his players better tactical and gameplay analysis.

The virtual reality goggles would have enabled the United stars to review footage captured through their own eyes during matches.

Incredibly, the devices can also pause the video clips and allow the person wearing them to take a 360 degree look at their surroundings.

The high-tech goggles – currently used at PSV Eindhoven – are believed to be a more effective training tool than video clips alone.

Van Gaal’s performance analyst Max Reckers – who was widely criticised for his tendency to focus more on weaknesses than strengths in analysis footage shown to players – said Van Gaal was open to tweaking the coaching style.

“Louis is very open to new technology. He’s a very forward-thinking manager,” he said.

“The task for the club and coach is to facilitate that to an optimum level. My generation is the last generation with video.

“Everyone younger knows iPads, virtual reality, FIFA... so we have to accept they don’t watch TV the way we did. I watched a game for 90 minutes; there’s not a single player who does that anymore. We have to adapt.

“The ones who are good FIFA players have a small advantage with the virtual reality. It’s not so much about them being old or young, but the type of personality I think. Some really like to observe themselves, others don’t.

“I didn’t want to be the guy who puts in new technology without the right purpose. You have to change to the situation and your players. United have everything, specialists everywhere.”

While virtual reality sounds the way of the future for football coaching, it will never be known if a bit of modern tech could have sparked United into life under Van Gaal.

Considering the reported communication issues between management and squad during his reign, one would think it might not have been enough to keep him in the job.

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Ryan Giggs

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