Rafael: I didn’t really enjoy football under Louis van Gaal

by Sam Peoples

Former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva has admitted he didn’t enjoy playing football under Louis van Gaal.

The Brazilian right-back moved to Lyon last summer after spending seven years at Man United after it didn’t quite work out for him playing under the new boss.

Reports back in the summer of 2014 suggested Rafael was told he could leave the club but he didn’t until the following summer and judging from these comments, it’s obvious to see his enjoyment for football had gone under van Gaal.

“Consistency is everything in football. You get games, you feel better,” he said.

“You enjoy it more and your fitness is better. When you’ve not played for a long time it’s very hard for the player.

“I had some choices to go in England, but in the end I wanted to try something different. It’s good to challenge yourself.

“To be honest I didn’t really enjoy to play when Van Gaal was there.

“Everyone is different. Results matter so if they can win the league it will be a different story.

“I like to enjoy myself, to try things and do stuff. Last year I wasn’t doing that.

“I watch them play and I’ve heard some things as well… But it’s hard. Football is for the fans. They want to see good football.”

For me, this represents the worrying reality that United fans are going through and questions we are asking ourselves. Are the tactics a strait jacket on creativity for the players that forces them to not play in their natural style? It certainly did for Rafael by the sounds of it.

Right now, so many questions are getting thrown around and fingers are being pointed, both at van Gaal and his players. Creative, somewhat spontaneous, football has disappeared and has been replaced by a disciplinarian style based on possession domination which is forcing players to maintain strict positional discipline.

Fans aren’t happy and as the results are not coming with the style, it’s not long before patience is lost in van Gaal’s philosophy. What Louis has taught fans is that being top of the league isn’t everything for United fans, it’s how you do it as well.

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