After watching his side slump to a first home defeat to Southampton in 27 years Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is seeking help from a higher source.
The Dutchman has taken the unusual step of enlisting a Zen Buddhist in a bid to improve his squad’s mindset and their 1/3 chances of securing a top four spot.
According to The Sun, Stockport-based Grandmaster Zen will give a one off session to the squad ahead of this weekend’s visit to QPR.
It may seem a little off the wall but Van Gaal isn’t the first manager to adopt some left-field thinking as the rest of our top five shows.
Glenn Hoddle – England
Hoddle’s love of faith healer Eileen Drewery and advocacy of mysterious French injections are well documented, but less so was his penchant for touching his players’ hearts before games and attempts to create positive energy.
Gary Neville explains in his autobiography: “Before the game, Glenn did his usual pre-match routine of moving around the players, shaking their hands and touching them just over the heart.
“One of the masseurs told me Glenn had asked the staff to walk around the pitch anti-clockwise during the game against Argentina to create positive energy. Sadly, it didn’t do us much good.”
René Meulensteen – Brondby
The former Manchester United coach is well respected in the game but has his critics.
Per Nielsen, who played under the Dutchman at Brondby, revealed a few of Meulensteen’s (ahem) forward-thinking ideas in a 2013 interview, explaining that he changed the colour of Brondby’s hallways from their famous yellow to green in a bid to “promote calmness”.
He also used to shout “boo” in his players’ faces as they juggled a ball in order to “prepare them for crowd noises”.
Most famous, however, is his insistence that the players imagine themselves as a particular type of animal just before playing!
Felix Magath – Wolfsburg
Some managers are known for being tough taskmasters but the Wolfsburg squad were shocked when sent on an unusually long run through the Wolfsburg woods.
Upon their return they found that Magath had emptied their water bottles in an apparent bid to gauge their reaction to negative circumstances in what he described as an “educational measure”.
John Beck – Cambridge United
The long-ball style of football has its detractors, mainly for being too simplistic, but the former Us manager almost guided his side to the top flight in the early 1990s with a somewhat scientific approach to route one.
Beck ordered the groundsmen to keep the grass long in the corners so it would hold up the ball when it was kicked over the top.
This was just one of his whacky techniques, however, with players regularly soaked with ice-cold water before kick-off and the away team having to contend with a dressing room that had the heating turned all the way up!
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