Old Trafford has been a cacophony of jeers rather than cheers this season, but Manchester United fans provided the latter for under-fire boss Louis van Gaal on Sunday.
Van Gaal has been criticised for showing a lack of passion on the touchline by the Red Devils faithful but the Dutchman showed plenty during their 3-2 Premier League win over Arsenal.
In a peculiar but funny moment, Van Gaal was seen hurling himself to the ground after a discussion with fourth official, Mike Dean.
Unhappy at the perceived theatrics of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, the United boss made his feelings clear to Dean by mocking his actions on the touchline.
His colourful protest drew an enormous cheer from United fans, and even a sporadic and rare outburst of ‘Louis Van Gaal’s red and white army’ from the Stretford End.
‘That was too emotional – it is not good for the referee and the linesman and the fourth official,’ Van Gaal reflected afterwards post-match.
‘It doesn’t happen much normally – I have had a lot of criticism because I am sitting on my bench and now I am off my bench and I have lot of criticism because I’m doing that.
‘I have apologised to the referee and the linesman and I hope everything is solved. I have to control my emotions and I have said that also to my players.’
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger would only offer a wry smile when asked to venture an opinion on his opposite number’s touchline antics.
‘Nothing,’ Wenger replied. ‘You will have to ask him the question. I do not want to comment on that because [you will say] I’m a bitter loser – I am, in fact.’
Despite his anger at the time, Van Gaal’s emotions were of a happier nature come full-time as his injury-ravaged side defeated Arsenal.
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