Football: Fans' fall guy makes his point by lying down on the job

He's down but not out. United manager Louis van Gaal shows a rare theatrical streak while remonstrating with fourth official Mike Dean during the 3-2 victory against Arsenal on Sunday.
He's down but not out. United manager Louis van Gaal shows a rare theatrical streak while remonstrating with fourth official Mike Dean during the 3-2 victory against Arsenal on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Louis van Gaal apologised to the match officials at Old Trafford on Sunday after falling to the ground in mockery of their efforts to combat Arsenal's tactics.

In the 75th minute of United's 3-2 win, van Gaal walked out to the touchline to remonstrate with Mike Dean, the fourth official.

The United manager, flanked by his assistant Ryan Giggs and goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, seemed unhappy with the apparent theatrics of some Arsenal players and decided to take a tumble to prove just how annoyed he was.

The Dutchman approached Dean and argued with him before falling backwards on the turf.

United fans rose to their feet and clapped the 64-year-old.

Afterwards the United manager admitted that he may have gone too far with his amateur dramatics.

"I don't (usually) let myself go too much - every match I'm sitting on my bench - but today my emotion was a little bit too high, so I have apologised to the referee, the linesman and the fourth official. Everything is already solved," he said.

"I don't regret it because it's an emotion and in sport, it's good to show your emotion sometimes. But sometimes you have to control your emotions."

During the 1995 Champions League final, then-Ajax manager van Gaal imitated a kung-fu kick on the touchline after being annoyed at a high tackle by AC Milan's Marcel Desailly on Jari Litmanen.

When told the United fans enjoyed watching him show some passion, van Gaal said: "Great, but the fans are not always wise."

United produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat Arsenal and reduce the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City to three points.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Fans' fall guy makes his point by lying down on the job'. Print Edition | Subscribe