“[The game was]”not football anymore – it was a struggle for life.”
Manchester United defied death itself to earn a 0-0 road draw against Tottenham. In a bizarre match that involved the release of a flock of underfed vultures, field lines drawn with pure anthrax, and a strange decision to replace the midfield circle with a barracuda tank, United fought valiantly to minimize casualties and drag themselves to a much-needed point.
At least, that’s what I assume happened. I didn’t watch the game. Waking up at 7:00 am ET for this just wasn’t in my plans. But, reading Louis van Gaal’s post-match quotes, I’m pretty sure I got the gist.
“They were tired. We had to play a match within 48 hours [of the last one] – the body is not recovered and I don’t have the possibility to change because we do not have the fittest players in the world.”
Brave men, those reds. Manchester United fought on, despite setting off on the 200-plus mile walk from Manchester to London immediately after defeating Newcastle on Friday. In a slow moving caravan that appeared more like a mobile triage, United fought off marauding hoards across the English countryside. Swords were drawn to fend away bloodthirsty pirates intent on harming Wayne Rooney’s self-esteem by mocking his new life as a defensive midfielder.
“[The substitutes] were coming back from injury. They cannot play 90 minutes, so maybe they can play 20 minutes. I took a risk already with these players, putting them on the bench. That’s why I could not change. The bench contained very young players. I have to cope with that.”
A courageous van Gaal knew that the conditions of today’s match made White Hart Lane no place for children. Huddled together for strength and protection, the hopes of United’s future — and a surprisingly young-at-heart Darren Fletcher — prayed, hoping to avoid the arrows from snipers on the stadium roof.
Had I bothered to watch the game, these quotes would probably make more sense. But don’t we rely too heavily on visual media these days? Why go see the movie when a perfectly good book was published? Louis van Gaal painted a beautiful picture of his club’s triumph in the face of death and adversity. No need to bastardize the memory of the lost by actually watching to see what happened. Let your imagination soar.