'Don't wash your dirty laundry in public'.
Louis van Gaal went on the defensive in his pre-match press conference before the clash with Liverpool after admitting that his captain Rooney and vice-captain Carrick had informed him that the atmosphere within the dressing room had been flat recently.
It was honest of him to share this information, but maybe it would have been advisable not to address the issue as what happens behind closed doors should stay there.
There are two issues to look at from his statement one being the fact that the manager shared publicly what should really have been kept in-house, something that Alex Ferguson would have handled without informing the media, and the second being that surely it's the responsibility of the captain to rally the troops and boost morale when it's flagging and not to tittle-tattle to his manager.
To be a club captain takes a certain type of character and a person who can both lead on and off the field and United have been blessed with leaders and imposing personalities in the past that have pulled their teammates up by the scruff of their necks. When you think of the likes of Charlton, Buchan, Robson, Bruce, Cantona, Keane etc. they led by example and earned their teammates' respect by making sure that no player forgot who they were playing for. It does make you wonder how the present crop of players felt once they had heard that Rooney informed the manager of a possible lack of morale.
In the dressing room it is a known fact that van Gaal doesn't say very much before a game as all his work is done in meetings in the days building up to the match so that leaves one person with the responsibility to ensure that the players are focused on the task in hand and that's the captain. However, that is going to be a little harder now that the news is out there and it will be interesting to see how it effects the relationship between the captain and his players.
All this happened on the eve of the clash with United's bitterest rivals Liverpool so the timing wasn't exactly perfect as the media are always looking for any type of discord within the ranks and will spin it to the extreme. Van Gaal tried his best to play down the situation by remarking that his relationship with the players was healthy and his is an open door policy.
Also, where does Giggs fit into all this? As assistant coach he is there to assist and not just in the coaching side of the job but also as an ear for the players, a bridge between them and the manager one would presume.
The rumours of players being unhappy started to come out of the club concerning the treatment of certain team members by the manager and the Spanish contingent being unsettled about the Valdes and De Gea dealings, but this is just an example of teammates and friends looking out for each other. Now that the De Gea situation has been resolved, maybe that will give the squad a much-needed boost for the long season ahead.
With all the new faces in the team, it takes time for players to adjust to their new environment, colleagues and languages. If the atmosphere is flat within the squad then maybe all the players should take a deep look at themselves and never forget that they are playing for the biggest club on the planet and be UNITED.
Thanks for reading.