LVG: Touchline rants pointless

Unlike his contemporaries – and one of his most famous predecessors, Sir Alex Ferguson – the Manchester United boss prefers to relay messages to his players through his assistant Ryan Giggs, who can regularly be seen on the edge of the technical area at Old Trafford.

Not once has Van Gaal appeared on the touchline, home or away, this season.

That has come as something of a surprise to United fans, but the Dutchman insists it would be a waste of time if he ranted at his team from the side of the pitch.

“I don’t see any influence from me when I am there shouting,” he said. “They are not understanding you.

“With the fans in the Premier League shouting so much, they can’t understand you.

“That’s why I’m always on the bench. You have trained them to read the game by themselves all week.

“It is much more important that they are more involved with the game, that they make their own decisions. It is like a child – you educate them.”

Van Gaal’s Boxing Day opponent, Newcastle’s Alan Pardew, is one of the most vocal managers from the touchline in the top flight.

Pardew’s passion has boiled over into anger at times, which has been costly for the Magpies boss.

Last season he was banned for seven matches for headbutting Hull’s David Meyler just two months after he was warned about his conduct following a foul-mouthed pitch-side tirade towards Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

The former West Ham boss has endured a number of spats with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and also received a two-match ban for pushing linesman Peter Kirkup two years ago.

“I have never had a fight,” Van Gaal added. “I only use my voice – never my hands or something like that.”

The omens are looking good for United ahead of Friday’s match against Pardew’s men.

Since the Premier League began, United have won 19, draw two and lost one of their 22 matches played on Boxing Day.

Another victory would keep them just about in touch with leaders Chelsea, who are 10 points above them in the standings.

Given that the Blues have lost just once this campaign, it would take an almighty effort from United to catch Jose Mourinho’s men, but Van Gaal is not convinced the Londoners have the title sewn up just yet.

“In the Netherlands and also in Germany, you have the Christmas champions but that doesn’t mean you will be champion in May or June,” Van Gaal said.

After finishing seventh under David Moyes last term, United have set Van Gaal the target of a top-four finish this year, but the former Bayern Munich manager is aiming even higher.

“Our goal is still to be champions at the end of the season,” he said. “In a football world, number one is the most important thing.

“But it’s not always easy.

“That’s why the board have said that our goal is within the first four places but still, with my players and all the staff, we are trying to achieve more than they expect from us.”