Van Gaal rules that hair-pulling only allowed in bedroom

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at the end of the match.
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal at the end of the match. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was at his bizarre best again on Sunday, after his team's 1-1 Premier league draw with Leicester City as he complained that a hair-pulling incident during the match was only acceptable in "sex masochism".

The United manager's future at Old Trafford may be the subject of intense speculation, but for one day, all the talk about him was his comical post-match interview in which he tugged a reporter's hair.

The highlight of van Gaal's eccentricity this season had been the way he threw himself theatrically to the turf to insinuate a supposed dive by Alexis Sanchez in United's match against Arsenal in February.

Yet his straight-faced response to an incident in which United's Marouane Fellaini appeared to elbow Leicester's Robert Huth after having his luxuriant head of hair pulled by the German defender may just have topped the bizarre list.

When asked about the episode which could have resulted in a penalty for United, van Gaal told his questioner from Sky Sports: "When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that's a penalty. Shall I grab you by your hair?"

MORE THAN A HAIR'S BREADTH

Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They did it. They did it several times I think.

LOUIS VAN GAAL , the Manchester United manager on why Marouane Fellaini should have earned his side a penalty.

Before waiting for an answer to this invitation, the Dutchman did just that, and said: "What is your reaction when I grab your hair? Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but, when I do that, what are you doing then? It's a reaction.

"Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They did it. They did it several times I think."

What was not so amusing for United fans was their side's inability to pick up the win they needed to maintain their slim hopes of grabbing a top-four spot to guarantee Champions League football next season. United have 60 points - four fewer than neighbours Manchester City, although the Red Devils have a game in hand. Van Gaal conceded that, even if they win their remaining three games, it would be hard to finish fourth.

"I have said to my players that I have seen one of the best matches of the season of my line-up, but it was not enough," he said. "I have said you have to win every game that we have to play so now already we are not closing the gap. You can do it but it shall be very difficult."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2016, with the headline 'Van Gaal rules that hair-pulling only allowed in bedroom'. Print Edition | Subscribe