Belfast Telegraph

Furious Louis Van Gaal aims barb at Robert Huth for pulling Fellaini's hair in Leicester draw

By Ian Herbert

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has declared that Leicester City's Robert Huth must face a ban for pulling Marouane Fellaini's hair, if the Belgian is disciplined by the Football Association for appearing to elbow the defender in the chin during the 1-1 draw which prevented Claudio Ranieri's side becoming champions.

In a bizarre defence of his midfielder, who may now be hit with a three-game ban for violent misconduct which would end his Premier League season, Van Gaal said that swinging an elbow was a natural reaction to Huth's hair-pulling, for which he claimed United should have been awarded a penalty.

"When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that's a penalty. Shall I grab you by your hair?" Van Gaal said - doing so to a reporter. "Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but when I do that, what are you doing then? It's a reaction. Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They (Leicester) did it. They did it several times. Huth was the guy who grabbed the hair of Fellaini. I think the reaction of Fellaini is like a human being. He is always like that."

Despite the colourful exposition of the merits of the situation, hair-pulling is a lesser offence and if referee Michael Oliver tells the FA in his match report that he did not see the Fellaini elbow, delivered to the underneath of Huth's chin, then a retrospective ban is likely.

Van Gaal also admitted that the chances of his side securing a top-four spot ahead of Manchester City were now slim, after a further two dropped points.

"It is dependant on City because Arsenal have won so that is a big gap for three matches. It shall be very difficult," he said.

The manager said that video replays were needed to rule on controversies like the 86th minute foul by Leicester's Danny Drinkwater on United substitute Memphis Depay which saw the Englishman dismissed for a second yellow and the infringement ruled to be fractionally outside the box. Depay's foot was on the line of the penalty area, entitling United to a penalty.

"Drinkwater makes the foul," said Van Gaal. "But to see if it is in or out is very difficult so that is what I have already said for more than 20 or 30 years I am in this profession and we need the video because the referee cannot do it by themselves and I think he (Oliver) is one of the best referees in England. Difficult."

United did start impressively - playing a high line because the absence of the suspended Jamie Vardy ensured there was less danger of them being outdone for pace. But they faded after the first 20 minutes and Van Gaal's suggestion that this had been one of their best displays of the season lacked credibility.

"The first 25 minutes was fantastic but Leicester came more into it. It is logical they are the future champions. They are very good; organised. They can play the ball," he said.

"We had to work hard to regain it. You see the last 10 minutes, they are very tired. We could have won it."

Belfast Telegraph


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