Under-pressure Van Gaal asks Manchester United players to be ‘horny’ | football | Hindustan Times
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Under-pressure Van Gaal asks Manchester United players to be ‘horny’

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reduced a press conference to chuckles on Wednesday when he told his players to be “horny” when they face FC Midtjylland in the Europa League.

football Updated: Feb 25, 2016 13:42 IST
Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal during the press conference.(Reuters Photo)

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reduced a press conference to chuckles on Wednesday when he told his players to be “horny” when they face FC Midtjylland in the Europa League.

Barely a day goes by without fevered discussion about Louis Van Gaal’s future at Old Trafford, and it could be on even more shaky ground if United is eliminated by little-known Danish club FC Midtjylland after the second leg of the Europa League’s first knockout round on Thursday. United lost the first leg 2-1 in arguably the lowest point in Van Gaal’s tenure.

In dominating the second half of that match, Midtjylland — founded in 1999, the year United won the Champions League-Premier League-FA Cup treble during its glory days under Alex Ferguson — showed it will be no pushover.

Asked if matching Midtjylland’s desire would be key for United, Van Gaal said Wednesday: “You are right, you are right — your word is fantastic: desire. ‘Hungry’ and a lot of times I use the word ‘horny’ to my players.”

“I do think that Midtjylland had a very good organization, very detailed, and the players want to perform that organization,” Van Gaal added.

Elimination would restrict the chances of United qualifying for next season’s Champions League, with a place on offer for winning the Europa League. The only other route for United would be to finish in the Premier League’s top four and the team is in fifth place, six points adrift of fourth.

Anthony Martial’s away goal at Midtjylland, which won the Danish league title for the first time last season, has given United a good chance of advancing to the last 16. But an injury list currently containing up to 14 players, including captain Wayne Rooney and goalkeeper David de Gea, is proving a problem for Van Gaal with United playing three games in six days this week.

Title contender Arsenal visits Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday, and Van Gaal risks leaving his team fatigued for that match if he fields a full-strength lineup on Thursday. He may, though, have little choice given the injury concerns.