At the beginning of the year, Louis van Gaal responded to a question about his habit of staying in his seat throughout the 90 minutes. He reflected on the 1995 Champions League final when he ended up on his arse, after doing a flying karate kick.
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 know a lot of fans like the manager to show he is angry and at Newcastle the other night I was angry when Jesse Lingard missed a chance to score. 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. 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.
During Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Arsenal, Van Gaal came to the touchline, and was greeted with cheers from all four stands. He angrily voiced opinion to fourth official Mike Dean about the number of dives Arsenal players were guilty of, which referee Craig Pawson was rewarding them for.
Van Gaal then did his best impression of an Arsenal player, falling on his arse.