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Schneiderlin opens up on his Van Gaal nightmare at Man United

Morgan Schneiderlin, Louis van Gaal, Manchester United
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Morgan Schneiderlin couldn’t live up to expectations upon joining Manchester United in 2015 amid struggles under Louis van Gaal.

Schneiderlin had established a name for himself in the Premier League with Southampton prior to his €35m transfer to Manchester United in July 2015.

The French midfielder couldn’t resist the lure of playing for the Red Devils and signed up on the dotted line straight away. Life at Old Trafford, however, didn’t pan out the way he had hoped.

Schneiderlin made just 47 appearances for the club, with 39 of them coming in his debut campaign under Van Gaal. His performances from midfield were far from convincing. In fact, Jose Mourinho deemed the player surplus to requirements once he became head coach in 2016.

But the 30-year-old, who left United in January 2017 for Everton, suggests Van Gaal’s harsh methods were ultimately responsible.

“[He had] a style which was too strict,” Schneiderlin told the Athletic.

“We were told: ‘When you have the ball you have to do this’ instead of playing with my gut like I had done with [Mauricio] Pochettino and [Ronald] Koeman.

“The worst thing for a football player is when you think too much. I started to think: ‘Ah, the manager wants me to do this’. You lose your instinct, you start to force things, you miss passes, you arrive too late for a challenge. Your confidence goes down.

“I would play a very good game and then a very bad game. I wasn’t confident enough. I started to complain to my wife. It hurts me even now that I couldn’t play freely at United.

“The pressure of the club was no problem to me. I like pressure, I need pressure and adrenaline. The fans were good to me in the street.

“The problem was me because I knew I had so much to give but I couldn’t give it because I felt restricted. Looking back, I shouldn’t have been so upset, but at the time that’s how it was.

“You had to wait until the manager told you that you could eat. These things work when the players are 19 and 20, but not when you have older players.

“Van Gaal had proved that he was a top manager, but I don’t think we needed those ideas at the time.”

Schneiderlin returned to France in the summer by completing a €2.23m transfer to Ligue 1 side Nice.