Louis Van Gaal has hailed Wayne Rooney’s dressing room blast at his Manchester United team-mates and says it reminded him of the rant that led to one of his most coveted managerial moments.
Rooney provided vocal criticism of his team’s shortcomings at half-time at Anfield last week before going on to score the winning goal in the second half.
For Van Gaal it brought back memories of Frank Rijkaard’s famous half-time intervention in the 1995 Champions League final which paved the way for Ajax’s upset win over AC Milan.
Van Gaal said: “I think the players have to take responsibility but at the right moment – because I have seen it in my career at the wrong moment.
“At the right moment you have to do it so I am very pleased – in the final in 1995 with Frank Rijkaard for example.
“It’s always good, it always helps the manager and also the players. I’m asking already for more. I believe in the corrections of fellow players – I think that is more important than the correction of a manager.”
The normally placid Rijkaard lost his temper with under-performing team-mate Clarence Seedorf – then went on to set up the winner for Patrick Kluivert after the break.
And Van Gaal acknowledged his players will need all the fighting spirit they can muster after being hit by more injury woe ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Southampton.
Winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for a number of months as he requires surgery on the groin injury which forced him to prematurely leave the field against Liverpool.
Young’s absence leaves Van Gaal short of four full-back options and increasingly having to rely on the inexperienced Cameron Borthwick-Jackson as he continues his “difficult” search for reinforcements.
“Ashley Young has a severe groin injury, it shall be operated on, so he’s [out] for a long time,” Van Gaal said on the club’s official website.
In addition, neither Bastian Schweinsteiger nor Phil Jones have made their expected recoveries from injuries in time for the weekend, and will join Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo on the sidelines.
And Van Gaal conceded it could be too much to ask inexperienced youngsters to close the daunting seven-point gap on current leaders Arsenal.
Speaking in his press conference, Van Gaal said: “I have used youngsters a lot of times and they are doing great but the level of Man United is high and to give a high performance every week is very difficult for the youngsters.
“That’s why we have to look especially in the transfer period for replacements, but the difficulty is we ask for a level, so we are looking but it is not easy.”