Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal delivered an astonishingly entertaining speech at the club’s award ceremony on Tuesday evening which has taken social media by storm.
He had already handed David De Gea the Fans’ Player of the Year award when he was asked to close the show with a speech of his own.
The United boss surprised everyone when he delivered an impassioned review of the season, and was most animated when he described Wayne Rooney’s desire to get the club to second place in the Premier League table.
“It’s always difficult to [recap] the season, but when you start the season with 10 matches and 13 points and you are a manager of that club, the most world famous club, and you play at home and I am also a human being, I am also a human being, and I have the experience with other clubs that when you have that result you are not very beloved by your fans. And I came in the stadium of Old Trafford, 10 matches 13 points, and I came in, and I saw by myself how I have to behave myself!
“And then the public are applauding, standing up, and I thought how is it possible? How is it possible that the fans are supporting me? [Fans clap] Thank you. But thanks to that we could continue, and not only me of course, my staff, but especially the players. Because it is not so easy when you are playing in a great club as Manchester United, that you have 10 matches, 13 points, and you have a new manager who demands in another way than all the other managers. It’s very difficult.
“And with all the injuries, with all the injuries of the first part of the season, and then we continue with the spirit in the team… unbelievable. And that’s the credit of this team, the spirit in the team. And we come from, I thought in my memory, 13th place to the third position in the league, that was the highest classification, third position, after so bad start. And then we had the belief, the players but also the staff, had the belief that we could end second.
“I remember the meeting with the players, with the captain Wayne Rooney, that… [interrupted by chants] that we go for the second position in the league… and I said YESSSS! WE GO FOR IT!
“But… OK… Christmas time! Arsenal! FA Cup. FA Cup, eh? Lost! You remember the FA game against Arsenal? We were the better team, and the best player on the pitch in my opinion makes an error. And we lose that game, and after that, the meeting what I have talked about was there. And then you have to remember that we win six games in a row!
“And then we go to Chelsea… you remember away game against Chelsea. We had… no no no no! You have to listen! I ask you, I ask you to listen, because at that time we have 50 points, and Wayne Rooney sat in the dressing room he said we go for the second place, he said that, second position in the league table. Then, six games in a row we win, and then we go to Chelsea.
“Who are the better team then?! It’s easy to say that now in this room. I can believe it, but it was the truth, but we lost. We lost that game, but can you imagine when you have 80 per cent ball possession, you have 10 big possibilities, they have three… they have three! And they win the game! [If] we win that game, count the numbers of points we could have won, because after that we lose two games in a row, so three games in a row, but when you see that we have 30 points and then Chelsea had 83, they have now, at that moment 80 points, and we could have been the champion, so what I want to say to you: we are very close!
“But, but as a manager I know that ‘if’ does not count, ‘if’ does not count. We have to produce more and believe in the players, but also the staff and also the organisation like Manchester United shall do their outmost best. And why? Because we have the best fans of the world. Thank you for that, and I see you next season again.”
However, shortly after he left the stage Van Gaal later returned to ask the supporters to applaud a musician, much to the amusement of Ryan Giggs.