LvG – Hard Man or Big Softie?

Throughout his career, much has been said of Louis van Gaal’s harsh treatment of his players. After numerous bust ups with high-profile players and managers such as Rivaldo, Víctor Valdés and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff it is suggested that he takes no prisoners and does not view success as a measurement for respect. However, in a recent interview with the Telegraph, Juan Mata has suggested that the ‘Iron Tulip’ has a softer side which the media does not see.

The 'Iron Tulip' has a softer side according to Juan Mata.
The ‘Iron Tulip’ has a softer side according to Juan Mata.

“I really value his honesty,” told Mata on Van Gall, “When someone does something in training that he really likes, he goes over to hug and kiss them”. Despite his ‘hard-man’ attitude, there is no doubt that Van Gaal cares for his players, he never has any bad words for them, only words of encouragement and, with this latest revelation, he has a little more than encouragement reserved for his men. According to Mata, the Dutchman is not afraid to let his players know who’s performing well and who’s under-performing. If a player is playing well in training, Mata tells us that “he says in front of everyone: ‘You are the best in training, I’m really proud of how you played,’ to set a a good example to others.”

Hugs and kisses: LvG has a lot of love reserved for his players... if they are playing well.
Hugs and kisses: LvG has a lot of love reserved for his players… if they are playing well.

Mata continued his evaluation of his manager by saying “Van Gaal is how you see him in the press conferences, he’s like that with us too. He’s honest and straightforward. He believes in his style of training and way of preparing for games.” So his stubborn attitude is clearly not an act, the United players witness the same Van Gaal as the media do, although there are no hugs and kisses for the media!