Louis van Gaal has revealed Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick approached him earlier this season because they were worried the atmosphere in the Manchester United dressing room was “flat”.
Reports this week suggested some United players were unhappy with Van Gaal’s heavy training methods and that England duo Rooney and Carrick met with Van Gaal after the opening-day 1-0 win over Tottenham.
The United boss denied his relationship with his players was poor, but he did concede United’s captain and vice-captain aired their worries with him.
Van Gaal said: “Rooney and Michael Carrick came to me and said: ‘The dressing room is flat.’
“We want to say that to you because we want to help you.
“It’s a positive thing that the players are coming to me and not only Carrick or Rooney, other players,” Van Gaal said.
“But now it was Carrick and Rooney and that was alarming for me because they are the captains. That’s why I went to the dressing room.
“But all the players are communicating with me. They are coming to my office. Believe me, it is like that. I am not a dictator – I am a communicator.
“I have changed the way that I say the game-plan to them, for example. Now I ask in advance and they can say what they want. Most of the strategy is always the same because they like the way we have done it.
“I went to the dressing room, analysed the situation for them to give it a place. After that the atmosphere was much better and after that we won again.”
Van Gaal denied he was placing too much pressure on his players with the number of meetings held at Carrington.
“When you have professional behaviour, you know there are a lot of meetings,” he said.
The United boss insisted only serious suggestions would be welcome, however.
He added: “It is still better than every other job. Still better, because, as a player, you can work with your hobby. Or you have to change your attitude to a professional attitude. So you want change something in that process? Then you need fantastic arguments.”
Van Gaal, however, did seem irked that the dialogue between him and his players had been viewed as a mutiny and to emphasise his point, he raised his voice in the press conference, mimicking the song the fans sing about him.
He added: “The fans are shouting every week ‘Louis van Gaal’s army! Louis van Gaal’s army!’. They are very satisfied with Louis van Gaal and the players are also satisfied with me.”
— Adrian Kajumba (@AdrianJKajumba) September 11, 2015