Some Manchester United fans have become increasingly frustrated by Louis van Gaal’s failure to ever get on the touchline to instruct his players, particularly when the team isn’t the winning. The Dutch manager has explained why he is rarely seen out of his seat these days.

I did a karate kick. It was the 1995 Champions League final, Ajax against AC Milan, and I did a flying kick. We won 1-0, but we should have had a penalty for a high tackle on Litmanen. I was angry, so I did a karate kick on the touchline – about a foot away from the fourth official’s face. I wanted to show him what had happened to Litmanen. It should have been a penalty, but the referee did not whistle for a penalty. And in that moment, I realised that a manager can never influence the referee by what he does on the touchline. I realised that you have to control your passion. I am a little bit older now. But I still see the referee from 1995. He is a UEFA controller of referees now – and he reminds me what happened that night.

Every manager has his own identity, his own personality and also his own philosophy. When I started my career, I was like Klopp. Sometimes I still come to the touchline because I am changing the players or I am trying to communicate with them, but I don’t stand there for 90 minutes because I don’t agree with that. I don’t think the referees in England are influenced by what the manager does.


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