Van Gaal responds to Di Maria ‘worst ever coach’ jibe

The Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal went on the offensive on Thursday, defending his methods, reputation, and history as he sparred with reporters before his team’s World Cup quarterfinal match against Argentina.InformationGuideNigeria

And he responded to Angel Di Maria’s accusation that he was the “worst coach” he has worked under during their time at Manchester United together.

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The experienced coach maintained his long-running feud with Dutch media, who were critical of his tactics at the World Cup in Qatar and quick to antagonize the 71-year-old at a press conference on the eve of the last-eight match.

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Van Gaal’s decision to abandon the traditional Dutch attacking method and utilize a counter-attack strategy has angered many of his countrymen, but he insisted he had the best strategies to win the World Cup.JAMB Result

“I get the same question from you every time but you don’t understand that football is evolving,” he said in a tone of exasperation when asked whether he preferred coaching the old Dutch way, as he did earlier in his career or the more pragmatic counter-attacking, result-orientated approach he now employs.

“It’s a lot harder now to play attacking football than it was 20 years ago when I was coach of Ajax. When I came up with that more defensive system in 2014 (at the World Cup in Brazil), I also received a lot of criticism but now half the world plays like that. Football has evolved towards it.

“At this World Cup, we see that the results are very tight, even between big teams and supposedly smaller countries, because compact defending is simply easier than attacking. But it’s not true if it seems we are only defending. I hope that is clear now.”NYSC Portal

Van Gaal’s exchanges with the Dutch media mix acidic irritation with efforts at cutting humour, plus increasingly a refusal to answer questions he feels are intended to goad him.

“Brazil does almost the same as the Dutch national team,” Van Gaal continued.

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“They have great technical players and sometimes they run away with the result, but other times they can be mediocre and unattractive.

“But that does not mean Brazil aren’t performing here, I’ve said before Brazil are the top favourite in my eyes.

“We are also a country that has a chance to become world champions because I hope we are the best team.”\

He also defended himself from comments by Angel di Maria, who played under Van Gaal at Manchester United and could feature for Argentina on Friday. Di Maria labeled Van Gaal the worst coach he had worked with.

“Angel Di Maria is a very good footballer who, when he played at Manchester (United), had a lot of problems in his private life, including having his house broken into. That influenced his form that year.JAMB Portal

“Calling me the worst coach? He’s one of very few players who’ve said that. I’m really sorry about this and I find it sad he said this. Mostly it is the opposite,” he said.

“Memphis had to deal with it too at Man United. And now we kiss each other on the mouth,” Van Gaal observed, turning to his embarrassed striker seated beside him at the press conference.

Van Gaal is set to retire after the World Cup but said he might be tempted to work a little longer if the right challenge came along.

“You can never say never. But I am 71 now … but I still look like a God!” he concluded, bursting into laughter before exiting the stage.

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Emediong Ekpe

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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