Jermaine Jenas explains why Van Gaal is 'very similar' to Andre Villas-Boas

Jermaine Jenas

Jermaine Jenas believes Louis van Gaal is similar to Andre Villas-Boas.

Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas has told Yahoo Sport that Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has similar methods to Andre Villas-Boas.

Jenas, 32, left Queens Park Rangers at the end of the 2013/14 season, and hasn't returned to football since, serving purely as a pundit over the last year.

The midfielder played under Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham in what was a fascinating 18 month stint at White Hart Lane for the Portuguese manager, and has now reflected on that time.

Villas-Boas arrived in North London in 2012, replacing Harry Redknapp despite a dismal spell in charge of Chelsea - and whilst his first season with Spurs was superb, he struggled in the second campaign, and was sacked in December 2013.

Now, Jenas has surprisingly compared Villas-Boas to Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal in a column for Yahoo Sport, suggesting that their coaching methods are so specific and detailed that some players become frustrated.

"Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham was very similar in his methods," said Jenas. "In a training session, if I came to receive the ball from a right-back, he would stop the session and say, "No, don't stand there to receive the ball; stand there", and he'd move me five yards. I'd be thinking, ‘I've been playing midfield my whole career and I know where I feel comfortable receiving the ball’. But the minute a manager puts those thoughts into your head, you can go onto the pitch wondering whether you’re stood in the wrong place, rather than just doing it instinctively."

"A lot of players find it difficult to play under those restraints. Although many have loved working under Van Gaal, there are probably more that can't deal with it. And when you come to England as a manager, you have to be especially flexible because the English mentality is different," he added.

Villas-Boas' reign at Tottenham didn't last long, and it looks like Van Gaal's time at United will run for longer than Villas-Boas', but there are certainly doubts over the long-term future of the Dutchman at Old Trafford.

A recent report from The Telegraph suggested that many United players were unhappy with Van Gaal, which won't come as a surprise to many given the dictatorial reputation he arrived with over a year ago - and whilst Jenas has compared him to Villas-Boas, United fans will expect much more success from their boss.

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