Van Gaal takes a dive but Rashford restores his reputation

Manager's touchline antics earn a huge cheer from the Old Trafford faithful, but results are more important

Louis van Gaal tumbles onto the Old Trafford pitch during the game against Arsenal
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, a dead man walking last week, has completed a remarkable turnaround with two crucial victories in the space of four days and even won over sceptical fans with a dramatic dive during Sunday's clash with Arsenal.

The manager threw himself to the turf as he remonstrated with fourth official Mike Dean, a moment that earned one of the biggest cheers of the day from the Old Trafford faithful.

It swiftly became an internet meme, with fans quick to make hay of the image of Van Gaal flat on his back - although some still pointed to the fact he is likely to be ousted by Jose Mourinho at the end of the season.

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His histrionics sparked a rare chorus of "Louis van Gaal's red and white army" from the home supporters, who have been swift to criticise his style this season, but the Old Trafford boss revealed he had apologised for the incident.

"That was too emotional - it is not good for the referee and the linesman and the fourth official," he said. "I have had a lot of criticism because I am sitting on my bench and now I am off my bench and I have lot of criticism because I'm doing that.

"I have apologised to the referee and the linesman and I hope everything is solved. I have to control my emotions and I have said that also to my players."

More significant than his dive has been the discovery of teenage striker Marcus Rashford, who has scored four goals in two games for United, including a double in their win against Arsenal.

"Youngsters often play well in the first match," said Van Gaal. "The second is different. Marcus played well in both so he is a special talent."

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