Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Van Gaal shows Man United festive cheer

25 December 2014, 11:02

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has entered into the festive spirit by granting his players Christmas Day with their families ahead of Friday's Premier League meeting with Newcastle United.

Traditionally, players around England will be given Christmas morning off, to spend with their families, before training in the afternoon and playing fixtures on Boxing Day.

But Van Gaal, who is experiencing England's jam-packed festive programme for the first time, has broken with tradition and allowed United's stars a day at home.

Also read: Martinez will not waver from purist style

"I changed it," said Van Gaal, who took over at Old Trafford in July. "I gave them Christmas Day free with their family.

"We shall come together the next day, to our training complex, and have all the meetings we have had all season.

"I believe in a total human being. The environment is also important. They are more pleased to be at home with their wives and children. Then, I hope they shall give everything to beat the opponent."

United host Newcastle and then, just 43 hours after the end of the game, play their second fixture of the holiday period in London, with an early kick-off against Tottenham Hotspur.

Given the long injury list that has plagued Van Gaal in his debut season, the workload promises to be a challenge.

"The recovery period for a lot of players is impossible," he said.

"Some players need more hours, more days. I have to rotate, but then I need fit players. Now I am forced to select and for a manager, that is not so good. I don't have so many fit players. That's my problem."

England defender Chris Smalling is the only current first-team absentee in contention to face Newcastle, although on-loan striker Radamel Falcao came through a rare start in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Aston Villa with a goal.

"You saw him cheering with the fans, so you saw the goal was a very big boost for him," said Van Gaal.

"I have seen him play well in training also, so I was very pleased he made that beautiful goal. I hope he will follow that with a lot of other goals, go on a run."

Possession key for Pardew

Angel di Maria also came back from injury at Villa Park and is nearing full fitness.

But his manager confesses he has yet to settle upon the best role for the multi-dimensional Argentinian.

"We still need to find out what the team needs for him," said Van Gaal.

"And it's also about the composure of the team. We have to look for the best team because so many good players have been injured and I couldn't select the team I want yet."

Newcastle have a good recent record at Old Trafford and added to Van Gaal's predecessor David Moyes's woes last December when they won 1-0 through a goal from Yohan Cabaye, who has since left.

Alan Pardew's side travel to Old Trafford after four successive defeats, the latest of which came at home to their derby rivals Sunderland.

Gus Poyet's Sunderland enjoyed a healthy share of possession en route to their 1-0 victory and Pardew says it is an area in which his side must show an improvement.

"One of the reasons we have done well there (Old Trafford) is we have retained possession well," he said.

"That's something we are going to have to do, because you can't turn possession over to Manchester United with the quality they have up front.

"They are going well at the minute. They are on a great run, and it's a game that every time you play them, you have to look forward to it. I certainly do and I am sure our senior players and young players will, too."

Pardew is likely to make changes, with French play-maker Remy Cabella and Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse hopeful of recalls.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...