Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United players spoke to him but not because of training methods - because the dressing room was 'flat'

Van Gaal reveals that Rooney and Carrick approached him earlier this season

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal today admitted that Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick have approached him to say that the Manchester United dressing room is "flat".

The Dutchman insisted that he has a "superb relationship" with his players and said that he has now made changes because of concerns expressed by his captain and vice-captain.

Van Gaal, who said that David de Gea’s head was now "empty" and able to “focus” on football after not moving to Real Madrid and signing a new contract today, did not elaborate on the way he says he has altered the way he is approaching games.

Van Gaal said that the very fact two players had approached him was a sign of what a good relationship he has with his squad. He said: “I think I have a superb relationship with my players. Maybe you have to consider how many players are coming to the manager to say something.

"In my career as a manager I did not have so many players who are coming to say something about the atmosphere in the dressing room - about the way we train or something like that. It is very positive that layers are coming to you."

Van Gaal's treatment of former defender Rafael caused concern

One of the prime causes for concern among players has been the treatment of Rafael da Silva this summer and Luke Shaw last season. Van Gaal said of that: "The whole dressing room has been changed. Can you imagine when your friend must leave and what are your feelings, then?

"So, Rooney and Carrick the captain came to me and said the dressing room is flat. We want to say that to you because we want to help you. I communicate not only with my captains. I talk to the dressing room and communicate with my players. We have discussed a lot of aspects. What [aspects we subsequently] I cannot tell here - but they are not the aspects that some have written."

 The manager claimed that fans shouting his name was proof that he is liked and respected. "The fans are shouting each week 'Louis van Gaal’s army, 'Louis van Gaal’s army,'"he said, raising his arms and his voice. "The fans, like my players, are satisfied with me.”

"I can say only that I have a very good relationship with my players. It is also a little bit logical now because there are only nine players left from the group and the rest I have bought so they shall not say I am a lousy manager." Of De Gea’s chances of facing Liverpool tomorrow, he said he would assess him in training.