Video : Rafael Da Silva’s “Nightmares” About Van Gaal’s Instructions

Former Manchester United defender Rafael Da Silva jokes that he still has ‘nightmares’ about Louis van Gaal’s training sessions.

Van Gaal was the man ultimately responsible for ending Rafael’s career at Old Trafford, which was a hugely unpopular decision and remains so. It was clear from the get-go, especially considering Van Gaal’s history with Brazilian players, that it would not be a relationship that would last for too long.

However, in his forthcoming book – The Sunshine Kids, a joint autobiography with Fabio Da Silva – Rafael shares how his love for the club made him determined to try and prove Van Gaal wrong.

Frustratingly, the much-loved player wasn’t given much of a chance to do so – and in one of those rare moments, Rafael realised how difficult things were going to be.

“The guy was obsessed,” said Rafael, exclusively for our YouTube channel. “I played very well in our game against West Ham. I’m sure he didn’t want to put me on the pitch, but I think Ryan Giggs helped with this. I played well, I crossed for Wayne Rooney to score a good goal. He (Van Gaal) made a video the next day… he would put them on and go, ‘this, this, this’.

“I was very happy, I knew I had played well, maybe even man of the match. The goal came on the third thing in the video. I thought, ‘now he’s going to say something good about me’. He says, ‘look at this cross. Why is the ball bouncing? This is not a good cross! Why did you do that? I looked at him and thought what is this guy talking about? I just made an assist and he is saying it was a bad cross.”
The method was very different to what the players had been used to.

“It would be in the instructions in training,” Rafael says. “He’d ask why we passed with the first touch. I learned the opposite from Sir Alex Ferguson. He would love when the ball came and you’d pass with the first touch. It made the game quicker. But Van Gaal used to hate that. He’d tell us to control. Two touch, three touch. Sometimes I have nightmares thinking about it!”

Some serialisation of the book occurred yesterday, with a couple of lines taken out of context. For example, Rafael did not say that Anderson went to McDonalds or that he ate fast food.

His comments about David Moyes should also be taken in the context in which they are described in the book. The remark of Moyes getting all of his major decisions wrong is in relation to the number of coaches that were allowed to leave in 2013, and, as Rafael admits, it’s a statement made with the benefit of hindsight.

“It’s true, sometimes the coach wants to do things his way,” a sympathetic Rafael said. “Now it’s easy for me to say that he could have kept some coaches. But it was very hard. I’m not here to blame David just because he maybe should have kept some of the staff. In the end it just didn’t work out for him.”

On our YouTube page, there is plenty of new content coming for the 21/22 season. On Mondays, the TalkingDevils podcast with Paul Parker and Wayne Barton returns for the new campaign, now exclusively on YouTube. Coming this Friday night, Phil Marsh and Keane Franey talk about Phil’s remarkable time at Old Trafford.

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