Ronald Koeman and Louis van Gaal are two Dutch managers in their first year in the Premier League.
Koeman’s Southampton side currently sit in fifth place, one point behind Van Gaal’s Manchester United.
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Despite United’s higher standing on the table, the side has often been called out for poor performances, while Koeman has been praised for his work at St. Mary’s.
Now Koeman is speaking out about his fellow Dutchman, saying Van Gaal can sometimes be too confrontational with players, and touches on the differences in their coaching styles.
Speaking to Dutch television:
When you bring in Van Gaal you bring in quality but you also bring in someone who thinks he knows everything and that will cause clashes.
When you have Van Gaal in charge, it is a fact that there is fear in his team and that is not always good.
I was his assistant at Barcelona after the World Cup in 1998 and I learned a lot of things from him, but there is a big difference between him and me as managers.
The way he handles his players is totally different. I don’t put as much pressure on the shoulders of my players.
After Van Gaal coached the Dutch national team at the World Cup, the Dutch federation had to bring in a manager who would bring in a softer touch. The players needed an arm around their shoulder, someone calmer.”
Koeman is referencing his time as Van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona in the late 90’s, where the two helped lead the club to the La Liga title in 1999.
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Although Van Gaal hasn’t caused any major clashes with players (that we know of), he has made a name for himself through his sometimes strange-yet entertaining press conferences. No matter the performance United puts in, LVG seemingly always has a witty and calculated response for the media, even if it’s not the answer people want to hear.
Koeman can criticize Van Gaal for his coaching style and overall attitude, but he can’t argue that LVG gets results wherever he manages. He just led the Netherlands to the World Cup semifinals this summer, and despite all the talk surrounding Manchester United’s season, the Red Devils are still in the top four and in position to get back into the Champions League next season.
It will be interesting to see if Van Gaal responds to Koeman’s criticism, because we all knw LVG isn’t always quick to bite his tongue.