Louis van Gaal updates Alex Ferguson's 'squeaky bum' phrase

Louis van Gaal's new 'squeaky bum time' quip
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Former boss Sir Alex Ferguson jokingly referred to it as "squeaky bum time" but current Manchester United chief Louis van Gaal has coined another phrase to describe the anxieties of football management.

The Dutchman, 63, claims he and his staff have been "twitching our ass" in the dugout any time he has been forced to ditch his favoured 3-5-2 system for the 4-4-2 formation that United fans are more familiar with.

Speaking ahead of his side's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Cambridge United, Van Gaal was repeatedly questioned on his use of 3-5-2.

It was when quizzed by a reporter about United's possession and efforts on goal that he amended the phrase Ferguson made famous.

"I know all the stats," said Van Gaal. "I read the stats. I know that we have won more with 4-4-2 in a diamond. But when you analyse the game, then we have twitched our ass on the bench.

Squeaky Bum Time
Van Gaal is not the first Manchester United manager to refer to that part of the body to describe anxiety. Sir Alex Ferguson referred to the title run-in in 2003 as "squeaky bum time".

"I said to my players I was squeezing my ass, but it was the wrong expression. I have twitched my ass on the bench because we were out of balance.

"All the matches when we play 4-4-2, like against West Ham United, it was always twitching your ass. I don't like that.

"We have won nine or 10 in a row, then we lose one match and then the discussion about the system is coming. It is ridiculous.

"Now I have answered your question in a very good way."

Louis van Gaal (centre)
Louis van Gaal (centre) cannot bear to watch as Manchester United lose 5-3 at Leicester City in September

Despite Van Gaal's defence of the 3-5-2 system, former United defender Gary Neville is one of several former players to have criticised his tacticsexternal-link as "too slow and risk averse".

Even the United fans have started to voice their concerns, with many chanting "4-4-2" and "attack attack attack" during a goalless first half at QPR on 17 January.

Van Gaal switched to 4-4-2 after the break and United went on to win 2-0.

Some of Ferguson's statements to the media were legendary, but Van Gaal is building up his own portfolio.

In 2015 alone, he has dismissed the opinions of United fans by declaring: "I can't observe the fans because Manchester United have 600m fans all over the world.external-link You can't take into account 600 million opinions."

He was also dismissive of questions about striker Radamel Falcao's absence from his squad to face Southampton on 11 January.

"If a player cost £95m or £5,000,external-link it's not any different for me," said Van Gaal. "You have to prove yourself."

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