In a presser lasting only four minutes and fifty eight seconds, Louis Van Gaal lived up to his reputation of coming down hard on journalists.
With all the talk of his imminent sacking, Van Gaal said he has the support from the men who matter at Manchester United, namely executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and directors Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill.
In all, Van Gaal answered only 3 questions but more importantly, mentioned that Gill, Fergie and Woodward had called him and assured that his position was safe and then asked the journalists if now they would apologise to him.
He said he was in the room merely to adhere to the Premier League’s regulations, before calmly standing up and walking to the exit.
“Has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologise to me?” Van Gaal said as quoted by The Guardian.
“That’s what I’m wondering. I think I was already sacked, I read. I have been sacked. My colleague [Mourinho] was here already. What do you think happens with my wife or my kids [when they read that]? Or with my grandchildren? Or with the fans of Manchester United? Or my friends? What do you think? They have called me a lot of times and also Arsène Wenger is saying something about that.”
“So, you think that I want to talk with the media now? I am here only because of the Premier League rules that I have to talk with you. But I can see when I say something that you use my words in your context. And I only want to say that I have tried to lift the confidence of my players. I have done everything this week.
“I held meetings with the players and with my members of staff. I held a Christmas lunch. I did a speech and I felt the warmth and support of everybody in Carrington, our training complex. But I didn’t feel that in the media and, of course, I can imagine you can write about that subject. We are not in a good position but four weeks ago we were first in the Premier League and in four weeks’ time we can be back in that position again.”
Van Gaal also said he is only focusing ahead for the game against Stoke City and declined to answer any further questions. Self-proclaimed as it may be, but to the United manager, the press has no right to speculate on his future given how the club is standing by him at this point. However, recent performances have only helped fuel further speculation on his future and if the trend does not reverse soon, he might expect some phone calls from the United hierarchy with a different outcome.
Previous instances when managers turn on the media:
May 2002: Sir Alex Ferguson on press criticism of Juan Sebastian Veron – “I’m not f****** talking to you. He’s a f****** great player. You’re all f****** idiots.
October 2008: Joe Kinnear – launched an explicit rant after four days in charge at Newcastle – “Which one is Hickman? You are out of order. Absolutely f****** out of order. If you do that again, I’m telling you you can f*** off and go to another ground, I will not come and stand for that f****** c****.
August 2015: Jose Mourinho on Eva Carneiro – “Don’t make me answer another question or I go. I go.”
Kevin Keegan Rant: “And I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”