Typically, most sports press conferences consist of nothing but coachspeak and platitudes, but Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal isn’t most head coaches. He can be surly, obstinate and aloof at times.
At other times, he can very colorful and downright hilarious. The way he handled the reporter query about his beef with Angel Di Maria was classic (read/watch that here).
Van Gaal was also asked about what his plan is to try and stop Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi tomorrow.
“We’re not going to reveal our tactics to you as that’d be stupid to reveal,” Van Gaal said in response.
“You want to block and close the pass lines [to Messi]. I don’t think there’s too much hoo-hah about this.”
Van Gaal is right-
there is no reason for him to reveal any kind of tactics ahead of the big World Cup quarterfinal match tomorrow. Ditto for any coach, in any sport, whenever this type question comes up. The reporters are just doing their job, and the coaches are just protecting theirs.
The Iron Tulip added:
“Argentina in my view is a top country with top players in their selection. The tournament is starting tomorrow for real, for us. Although I don’t want to downplay the countries we’ve beaten, Argentina is a different country to the ones we have played.”
On one hand, that is a major slap at the United States Men’s National Team, whom they just ousted in the round of 16 to get here.
On the other hand, well, the USA is nowhere near Argentina’s class and depth, it’s true.
In the same presser, Van Gaal, who has managed Barcelona, Ajax and Manchester United revealed that he has been in touch with one of his former players at United, Bastian Schweinsteiger, seeking advice who on how to try and beat Argentina.
The former Bayern Munich and Chicago Fire star captained a German national team that beat Messi and company in the 2014 World Cup final.
Another one of Van Gaal’s former players at United, Memphis Depay, was asked about his national team coach’s Van Gaal’s managerial style.
In his answer, Depay said what we’re all thinking when it comes to LVG and his comic timing/comedic skills.
“Our head coach shows character and a sense of humour, and people appreciate it.,” Memphis said.
“We haven’t lost a game yet and our discipline in the team has tightened up when he arrived, which is important in a tournament. Everybody knows his vision, character, and that’s one of his biggest qualities to build a team.
He’s a coach who’s very clear, he has a vision that’s clear to him and he brings it over to the group clearly.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”