Former Manchester United assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg has revealed that he was “fully in charge” of the first team squad during Louis van Gaal‘s time at the club.
The Dutchman was appointed assistant coach by Louis van Gaal back in July 2014 and duly departed the club following the manager’s dismissal in May 2016.
He has since accepted his first senior managerial role at Belgian side KRC Genk, currently occupying eighth spot in the national league.
Speaking earlier this week, Stuivenberg shed light on the extensive influence he had over the first team squad during his time at Old Trafford.
“The role Louis gave me at Old Trafford was unique,” he said.
“It was extraordinary that he gave me so much responsibility. He gave me his complete trust.
“At United, I was doing the training sessions for the selected first team before games. I was fully in charge. I was doing all the pre-match team talks, and I did the post-match talk with the team and individual players.
“Louis gave me the opportunity to develop myself at the top level and lead in so many ways.”
This is, above anything, another illustration of the insurmountable chasm that emerged between United’s first team and Louis van Gaal last season. Many managers do indeed opt for this approach, but rarely to the extent that someone else takes complete control of various training sessions.
You have to think of it as a simplified game of Chinese whispers: every recipient that stands between the source of a message and its intended audience distorts its meaning and efficacy. The confusing nature of the Dutchman’s methods would have only been more ambiguous when articulated by somebody else. And it is indeed no coincidence that United, in turn, have benefitted from Jose Mourinho‘s ‘hands on’ approach this time around.