Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he has apologised for fourth official Mike Dean following a comical dive during a touchline confrontation during the Premier League win over Arsenal. The Dutch coach complained to Dean regarding an alleged act of simulation by Alexis Sanchez in the 75th minute and amid the clash re-enacted out the episode by theatrically falling to the turf in his technical area.
The act was an uncharacteristic moment of emotion from Van Gaal who often remains on the bench during matches, rarely reacting to the game from his viewing position. His remonstrations with Dean came as United claimed their third win in a row to blunt the Gunners' title challenge, with Marcus Rashford scoring twice on his maiden top flight start.
However, Van Gaal's touchline antics have stolen the headlines away from the 18-year-old but the United boss has been quick to ensure he is not reprimanded further for the incident by apologising to the officials. The 64-year-old has spoken with referee Craig Pawson to explain his actions and hopes to draw a line under the affair.
"Emotion," Van Gaal told Sky Sports. "I don't let it go too much, not every match I am always sitting on the bench. But today my emotion was a little bit too high so I have apologised to the referee and the linesman and the fourth official. Everything is already solved. It is not interesting anymore so move on.
"Never [regret] because it is emotion and I think in sport it is good to show your emotion sometimes, not always but when it is like that it is very wrong? I don't think so but for the referee, the linesman and the fourth official it is not so nice and that is why I apologise but not for being emotional."
The result was somewhat dampened by what could be another injury blow for United after Marcos Rojo went off with a foot injury after 55 minutes and was replace by debutant Tim Fosu-Mensah. The Argentine was making his first start since November after a shoulder injury but Van Gaal is yet to confirm what damage the defender has sustained.
United played with a verve and expansiveness which they have been devoid of for long periods of this season and victory keeps alive their slim chances to qualifying for next season's Champions League. Just three points now separate them from the top four and Van Gaal was impressed with his side's style of play.
"The key factor is always that you dare to play and we can play very good but we have to move the ball more quickly," he added. "We have to switch the game more frequently and the two goals we scored in the first half were all from switches of the game and that we have improved because we did it. We have to do it more. That is a key I think and that we are defending like a team."