Ronald Koeman criticises Louis van Gaal’s coaching style

by Ben Topliss

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal has a management style which strikes “fear” into his players.

The 51-year-old was Van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona between 1998 and 2000 but their relationship has since soured.

Koeman criticised Man United prior to Southampton’s victory at Old Trafford last month and has continued the feud by saying his former mentor’s management style puts too much pressure on his players.

Koeman also revealed the Netherlands had to employ a “softer” manager in Guus Hiddink to succeed van Gaal following last year’s World Cup.

Speaking about van Gaal, Koeman said: “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.”

Southampton missed the opportunity to leapfrog United in the Premier League table after losing 2-0 against Liverpool on Sunday.

Despite the loss, Southampton have impressed this season and have played with vibrancy and freedom. Van Gaal, on the other hand, has favoured a more pragmatic approach with creative players such as Juan Mata and Ander Herrera often finding themselves on the bench or left out altogether.

You may also like