Tales from Louis van Gaal’s training methods reveal just how anal Manchester United boss is

xxxx during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Louis van Gaal is a meticulous, almost neurotic manager when it comes to the finer details.

A product of Dutch football, Van Gaal is all about meticulous, militaristic preparation.

We saw evidence of this during Van Gaal’s first pre-season tour in charge of United, when he was seen teaching Antonio Valencia how to shoot….as if the Ecuadorian was a four-year-old child, and not a seasoned international.

This approach worked wonders earlier in his career, but it’s manifestly not working in English football, where the style is less tactically rigid, and more about instinctive free expression.

And this insider article from Mark Ogden in the Independent reveals just how anal he can be: he won’t allow the players to shoot first time, and insists that they take a touch first.

”A growing number of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United players believe the manager’s tactics have left the club on the brink of humiliation this season, with the Dutchman’s prescriptive philosophy even resulting in instructions not to shoot with a first touch.”

As if you can arbitrarily dictate that kind of thing: there are times when it’s more practical to take a touch, and others when it’s more practical to shoot automatically; it all depends on the situation.