Whatever you think about the tactics of Louis van Gaal, and his capacity to take Manchester United back to the top, it’s difficult not to be endeared to his style as a human being.
The tabloids were awash on Sunday with tales about Stoke defender Phil Bardsley’s ‘knockout punch’ on Wayne Rooney, a video of which surfaced at the weekend.
It was initially being hailed as the scoop of the century – the England captain playing Russian Roulette with his football career because of a mindless penchant for boxing.
But, in truth, this was a storm in a tea cup – a vastly exaggerated version of what was simply two mates messing about in private. And Louis van Gaal was quietly disgusted about being asked to answer questions about the incident. Sky Sports quoted him as saying:
“What sort of world do we live in?” he said.
“I can’t imagine we are talking about such a thing. That a newspaper are paying a lot for a video and that I have to answer questions about it. What is this world, twisted?
“I think it is ridiculous that we have to talk about such things.”
Thank goodness for Louis. Some managers may have made a big deal about it in our no-risk modern society. But Rooney was simply letting off steam at home with his mates. The way that it was covered by some would lead you to believe that the lad had been caught smoking crack.
Manchester United need their main man in top form between now and the end of the season. And he seemed unaffected by the storm in his goal celebration against Tottenham. But it was obvious that his ease surrounding the sitauation was helped, in no small part, by the ease of the manager about what happened.
Manchester United fans can rest easy for once.