New Delhi: Breaking away from tradition, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has decided to give his players a break on Christmas Day. Traditionally, under Sir Alex Ferguson and then under David Moyes, December 25 was a working day for all the players.
But, the Dutchman, who is known to be his own man, has decided to give his entire squad the day off to spend time with their families.
Interestingly, United take on Newcastle United on December 26 at Old Trafford. For the first time, the players would arrive at the stadium for the Boxing Day clash directly at the stadium and not spend the Christmas night in a hotel as was the norm until now.
Louis van Gaal said: “I have changed that, I have given them free time and Christmas day with the family. We shall come together the next day here at our Aon Training Complex. Then we will have all of the meetings like we have done all season. I believe in a total human being so the environment is also important. I think they are more pleased to be at home with their wives and children. I hope they shall give everything to beat the opponent then.”
The former manager of the Dutch national team is known to be a hard taskmaster. This latest gesture from him comes as a wonderful surprise to his players. Football management is not just about developing a football team, but also making a positive impact on player morale with small yet significant things.
Captain Wayne Rooney welcomed Van Gaal's gesture and said: “We’re not actually training on Christmas Day this year because we’ll be spending it at home, which will be good for the foreign players and those of us with children."
When his team takes to the field against the Magpies on Boxing Day, Louis van Gaal will expect his generosity be rewarded with three points by his players.