Ryan Giggs has shed light on the stubborn nature of Louis van Gaal‘s managerial approach at Manchester United.
The Dutchman, despite delivering the FA Cup, was dismissed in May following failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Giggs worked alongside van Gaal and his Dutch team for two years as assistant boss before leaving over the summer.
Speaking earlier this week, the Welshman revealed that life as van Gaal’s No.2 was occasionally a frustrating ordeal.
“It’s not about biting your lip,” he said.
“And it wasn’t just me, there were other coaches. You put your point across. Sometimes Louis would go with it and sometimes he wouldn’t.
“He was the manager, he was the boss, and once Louis made that decision, you went with it, even if you didn’t necessarily agree with it.
“As an assistant, it can be frustrating at times but also it’s a great job to have because ultimately the pressure isn’t on you.
“It was different in a lot of respects to what I’d been used to under Sir Alex for so long but I learned how to set up a team and different coaching sessions. Like anything, there were bits that you would take and bits that you wouldn’t.”
The role of assistant manager is an inherently precarious aspect of football hierarchy. I always find myself wondering: are they content with laying out cones and basically just doing what their boss says, forever viewed as less important than their counterpart? Or are they, just like Jose Mourinho did, angling for a N0.1 role?
And Giggs has always expressed a desire to manage at the top level, pointing to the valuable experience gained from Sir Alex Ferguson, van Gaal and, um, David Moyes.
However, one finds it hard to imagine the Welshman imposing any firm ideas, any sense of his identity, on this Man United side. It was, for two years, entirely van Gaal’s team and van Gaal’s system, with little room for anything else. A pragmatic, highly principled approach, yes, but perhaps also the architect of his downfall.