Pros and Cons of Copper Cookware

So you see the famous cooks on television and you wonder why almost all of them use copper cookware.  Is copper cookware only for the stars, or is it fit for regular cooks, too?  Even if you think you’ve made up your mind, you should read these pros and cons of copper cookware. The superior heat distribution and conductivity of the copper cookware make it the leading candidate among cookware options.  Ever wondered why it’s copper electricians use?  Copper conducts electricity and heat like no other metal.  When used in cookware, the copper material reduces heating time and overall cook time for your meal, while cooking evenly. The copper surfaces of the pots and saucepans are a breeze to clean.  Even though you cannot put them in the dishwasher, you’ll have no complaints for the clean up time involved. Finally, copper cookware has a classic, ever-popular look.  You will want to display your copper cookware for all to see.  Everyone will be convinced that you must be a professional cook when they see your cookware. 

There are downsides to copper cookware, however.  Copper is the most expensive type of cookware.  For many people, it’s simply out of their price range.  It’s also extremely heavy, the heaviest of cookware.  These are two major downsides to copper sets. But the most striking downside of all is that what you buy isn’t necessarily the same product that you’ll have in months or years.  Even though copper cookware is so heavy, it is easily dented.  Scratches too will mar your once perfect pots.  And if you cook acidic meals frequently, the inner lining of the pot will tarnish as the metal is leached into your meal.  This effect can even be toxic.  In this case, you must find an expert for specialized polishing and repair. In many ways, copper can be the best cookware, superior to the other choices in many ways.  Before you make your purchase decision, it’s important to keep in mind both the pros and the cons of this material.  For some, it can be a very good decision, for others, it would be a poor choice and one they would regret.

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Use a Wok for Authentic Asian Cooking at Home

Do you want to cook those great Asian meals at home?  Do you want to cook healthier?  If you say yes to either of these questions, a wok is just the tool you need for your kitchen.  Having a wok will allow you to make plenty of great tasting food that is at the same time surprisingly healthy and exciting.

The wok is designed to be used with a high heat for a short duration.  There is a relatively small area which is directly under the heat source and sloped sides.  Cooks toss the meal contents from the bottom area to the sides and back again to avoid burning, while at the same time cooking in the flavor they add.  The shorter cook time saves you time on the one hand, but surprisingly reduces overall fat content in the food, making it a much healthier meal.

The wok is the perfect way to encourage yourself to eat vegetables you know you should eat, but rarely do.  After all, how many recipes for broccoli are really enticing?  And if they are, they are probably drizzled in that cheese you know you shouldn’t have.  But adding broccoli and other vegetables to your stir fry can be the perfect way to include them in your diet.  If you have a great sauce, those extra vegetables will seem all the more acceptable to you.

Finally, unless you are going to head down to one of the Mongolian stir fry restaurants every time the urge hits, you need to learn how, and have the proper tools, to make your own delicious Asian meal.  The wok is the only way to go here.  Trying to cook a delicious Asian meal in a saucepan simply won’t do.

Once you realize the benefits of a wok, you really can’t afford not to try using one yourself.  You will be a happier, healthier cook once you give it a shot.


 

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Greek police evacuate hundreds from country’s largest informal refugee camp | Fox News

May 24, 2016: A refugee family carry their belongings during a police operation at a makeshift refugee camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the northern Greek village of Idomeni. (AP)

Greek authorities sent hundreds of police into the country’s largest informal refugee camp Tuesday to support the gradual evacuation of the Idomeni site on the Macedonian border.

The left-led government has pledged that police will not use force, and says the operation is expected to last about a week to 10 days. Journalists were blocked from covering inside the camp

By about midday 23 buses carrying a total 1,110 people had left Idomeni, heading to new refugee camps in northern Greece, police said, while earth-moving machinery was used to clear abandoned tents. No violence was reported.

Vicky Markolefa, a representative of the Doctors Without Borders charity, said the operation was proceeding “very smoothly” and without incident. “We hope it will continue like that,” she said.

The camp, which sprang up at an informal pedestrian border crossing for refugees and migrants heading north to wealthier European nations, was home to an estimated 8,400 people including hundreds of children mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

At its peak, when Macedonia shut its border in March, the camp housed more than 14,000, but numbers have declined as people began accepting authorities’ offers of alternative places to stay.

In Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said the evacuation appeared to be taking place “calmly,” and the U.N. refugee agency was sending more staffers to Idomeni.

“As long as the movement of people from Idomeni is … voluntary in nature (and) that we’re not seeing use of force, then we don’t have particular concerns about that,” he said.

“It often does help move people into more organized sites, when they’re willing to move to those places,” he added.

In Idomeni, most have been living in small camping tents pitched in fields and along railroad tracks, while aid agencies have set up large marquee-style tents to help house people. Greek authorities have sent in cleaning crews regularly and have provided portable toilets, but conditions have been precarious at best, with heavy rain creating muddy ponds.

Recently the camp had begun taking on an image of semi-permanence, with refugees setting up small makeshift shops selling everything from cooking utensils to falafel and bread.

More than 54,000 refugees and migrants have been trapped in financially struggling Greece since countries further north shut their land borders to a massive flow of people escaping war and poverty at home. Nearly a million people have passed through Greece, the vast majority arriving on islands from the nearby Turkish coast.

In March, the European Union reached an agreement with Turkey meant to stem the flow and reduce the number of people undertaking the perilous sea crossing to Greece, where many have died when their overcrowded, unseaworthy boats sank. Under the deal, anyone arriving clandestinely on Greek islands from the Turkish coast after March 18 faces deportation to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

But few want to request asylum in the country, which has been struggling with a deep, six-year financial crisis that has left unemployment hovering at around 24 percent.

Journalists were barred from the camp during the evacuation operation. An estimated 700 police were participating in the operation.

Greek authorities are also eager to reopen a railway line the country’s main freight train line to the Balkans that runs through the camp and has been blocked by protesting camp residents since March 20.

Anastassios Saxpelidis, a spokesman for Greek transport companies, said Tuesday that the 66-day closure has cost transporters about 6 million euros.

Giorgos Kyritsis, a government spokesman on immigration, said the line should open “in coming days.”

The government has been trying for months to persuade people to leave Idomeni and go to organized camps. This week it said its campaign of voluntary evacuations was already working, with police reporting that eight buses carrying about 400 people left Idomeni Sunday. Others took taxis heading to Thessaloniki or a nearby town of Polycastro.

On the eve of the evacuation operation, few at the camp appeared to welcome the news.

“It’s not good … because we’ve already been here for three months and we’ll have to spend at least another six in the camps before relocation,” said Hind Al Mkawi, a 38-year-old refugee from Damascus, told The Associated Press on Monday evening.

Abdo Rajab, a 22-year-old refugee from Raqqa in Syria, has spent the past three months in Idomeni, and is considering paying smugglers to be sneaked into Germany.

“We hear that tomorrow we will all go to camps,” he said. “I don’t mind, but my aim is not reach the camps but to go Germany.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/24/greek-police-evacuate-hundreds-from-countrys-largest-informal-refugee-camp.html

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Barack Obama, Anthony Bourdain dine in Vietnam

(CNN)President Barack Obama took a detour on his Asia trip Monday when he dined with celebrity chef and adventurous eater Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam.

Watch CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
Their meal and conversation will be featured in a September episode of CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.”
    After finishing up at Hanoi restaurant Bn ch Hng Lin, Bourdain tweeted that he had picked up the $6 tab on a shared “bun Cha dinner.”

    The President's chopstick skills are on point . #buncha #hanoi

    A photo posted by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on

    Obama arrived in Vietnam on Sunday, kicking off his tenth Asian trip since entering the White House. After Hanoi, the President heads for Ho Chi Minh City, before making his way to Japan. He concludes his trip later this week in Hiroshima, where the U.S. in 1945 dropped the first of two atomic bombs during World War II.
    Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site.
    His meal with Bourdain offered a brief break from an emotionally and politically weighty schedule that began with the announcement that the U.S would lift a decades-old lethal arms embargo on Vietnam.

    Obama’s soon-to-be televised appearance alongside an occasionally gory gourmand will not be a first — the President in 2015 was a guest of Bear Grylls on “Running Wild.” Among their culinary samplings: the gnawed remains of a piece of Alaskan Salmon left behind by a peckish bear.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/23/politics/barack-obama-anthony-bourdain-vietnam/index.html

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    President Obama dines in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain

    President Barack Obama greets women at the door as he walks from the Bn ch? Huong Lin restaurant after having dinner with American Chef Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP)

    After lifting a decades long embargo against Vietnam on Monday, President Barack Obama worked up quite the appetite, dining with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi.

    Bourdain, who hosts the popular food-meets-travel show Parts Unknown, met with Obama to discuss the purpose of the president’s trip to Asia and his interest in the people, food and culture of Vietnam, according to CNN. 

    A huge crowd gathered outside the restaurant Bun cha Huong Lien, then let out a cheer when the president came out. Obama was seen shaking hands with locals who gathered near the eatery and waved at onlookers before vanishing into the motorcade.

    So what did Bourdain and the president eat during this historic meal? 

    Bún ch is a traditional dish hailing from the Vietnamese capital that consists of grilled pork served in a broth or dipping sauce, flanked by rice noodles and fresh herbs.

    Bourdain later tweeted that the meal cost just $6– he picked up the check and also reportedly said the presidents chopstick skills are on point.

    Bourdain’s show has been on CNN since 2013. The outspoken chef travels to different parts of the world during each episode to explore that area’s culture, primarily by sharing in the area’s distinct native cuisine.

    The interview with Obama will be featured in the eighth season of “Parts Unknown,” which begins in September.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/05/23/president-obama-dines-in-vietnam-with-anthony-bourdain/

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    Nap pods and rooftop parks: how Silicon Valley is reinventing the office

    Tech giants Google, Samsung and Facebook are in a race to create the most elaborate workplace environments

    From the fifth-floor putting green of Samsungs Silicon Valley headquarters, looking out at a rolling horizon of sun-scorched mountains, its quite easy to forget youre at work. An executive is practising tai chi by the cactus garden, while another jiggles in a robotic massage chair nearby. A volleyball match is in full swing in the lush-planted courtyard below, while raucous shrieks of table football emerge from the Chill Zone, next to a row of space-age nap pods. Meet by the ping-pong tables, reads a sign stuck on the window. Todays spinning class will be on the terrace! 🙂

    With its new $300m office block, which stands like a stack of gleaming white hard drives at an intersection north of San Jose, the South Korean electronics giant is plunging headlong into the holiday camp workplace culture of the Bay Area tech scene.

    We wanted to introduce more of a startup vibe to the company, says Jim Elliott, Samsungs vice-president of memory marketing, a job title as otherworldly as the building he works in. We were all separated in our different departmental islands before, but this building is about bringing people together and encouraging chance encounters. We want to get people out of the boardroom.

    Samsung has had a base here for 30 years, housed in a cluster of nondescript sheds, but this 10-storey beacon is designed to shift its brand image in North America from purveyor of fridges and washing machines to powerhouse of cutting-edge semiconductor innovation.

    Designed by NBBJ, an architecture firm that is conjuring futuristic jungle-filled biospheres for Amazon in Seattle and a handful of vast tech offices across China, the building is the product of research into behavioural psychology and the neuroscience of work.

    Sleeping
    Sleeping on the job a nap pod at Samsung HQ. Photograph: Tim Griffith

    Its all about mobility, says architect Scott Wyatt, who heads NBBJs corporate workplace division. If you sit down for more than 20 minutes, you get dumber. Walking outdoors, he says, is when your brain achieves optimum cognitive function, so the Samsung office is configured to get people out of their chairs as much as possible. With pairs of floors separated by an outdoor terrace, employees are never more than a floor away from stepping outside. The cafeteria, meanwhile, is housed in a separate star-shaped building, so they have to walk out to lunch where 10 kinds of global cuisine are on offer in a food court worthy of an upscale mall.

    Samsungs fun-filled office-cum-wellness-centre is just the latest in a wave of new flagship headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area that mark a radical departure for the tech industry, which has never much cared for its surroundings before now. Norman Foster is busy erecting a doughnut-shaped flying saucer for Apple, set in a 150-acre park in Cupertino, where 3.7 miles of curved glass will soon encase a continuous tube of offices, built to the precision of an iPhone. Not to be outdone, Google has hired two of the most fashionable designers of the moment, Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, to concoct a retro-futuristic fantasyland of plug-in work pods beneath swooping glass tents. Such dreamy visions mark a recent and radical shift from the tech worlds default setting of the generic suburban business park.

    Microsoft always said the buildings dont matter, says Wyatt, who has worked on countless projects for the Bill Gates empire. The tech attitude was: Just give me a garage. All that has changed. With increasing competition to attract the best young minds, the silicon giants are now racing to outdo each other with ever more elaborate facilities (filled with ever more bountiful snacks).

    Techie
    Techie jungle liana-like cables and stuffed leopards at Facebooks HQ, the biggest continuous office floor in the world. Photograph: Oliver Wainwright for the Guardian

    The mother of all pimped-up garages now rambles along the highway in Menlo Park, 15 miles west of Samsungs HQ, standing like a line of conjoined aircraft hangars piled up in a car crash. With walls jutting out at odd angles and zig-zagging staircases casually bolted on as if at random, it bears the unmistakable hand of Frank Gehry. Stretching across 40,000 square metres, his Facebook headquarters is a hymn to the beloved startup foundation myth of the loose-fit inventors shed.

    Housing the biggest continuous office floor in the world, seating around 3,000 workers in an open-plan jumble, it is a suitably gargantuan home for a social network that now counts one fifth of the worlds population in its membership. Walking the office floor feels like exploring a techie jungle, where lianas of cables dangle from the seven-metre-high ceiling, servicing pods of programmers, while novelty helium balloons sway above their adjustable standing desks.

    We encourage people to hack their space, says my young tour guide, as we navigate this rough and ready world of raw steel beams and exposed ductwork, passing a piata modelled on Donald Trump, a leopard in a pink cape and a life-size stuffed polar bear. Were only 1% finished connecting the world, so we wanted the building to look unfinished too.

    Freestanding plywood meeting rooms are daubed with colourful murals from resident artists, while other walls are plastered with motivational posters, made by the companys print studio, the Analogue Research Lab, featuring ominous mottos such as: Eventually everything connects.

    When Zuck [CEO Mark Zuckerberg] says something in the morning, one Facebooker tells me, it can become a poster slogan by the afternoon.

    At the top of a dog-leg staircase, in a moment of Alice in Wonderland revelation, we come to a nine-acre rooftop park, a bucolic idyll of sloping lawns and wireless-enabled wildflower meadows that look out across the marshy rust-coloured flats of the bay. Cranes are busy building housing next door (which, although partly funded by Facebook, the company insists is not the rumoured Zeetown for its workers), while volunteers set up marquees on the roof for global causes day, an annual charity initiative.

    No one pays attention to how much youre at your desk, says my guide. As long as you get your work done, you can be lying on the lawn or sitting at the grilled cheese bar.

    Samsung
    Samsung HQ. Photograph: Tim Griffith

    Free food on tap is a fundamental part of the tech workplace, and Bay Area companies have long competed over the breadth of their snack offering. But the stakes are now shifting towards health-conscious choices: the ubiquitous jars of jelly beans and M&Ms are increasingly supplanted by dehydrated broccoli florets and kale crisps, washed down with a gulp of Soylent. Google has rearranged its snack counters so you have to pass fresh fruit before you reach the candy, while in the cornucopic cafeteria of LinkedIns new San Francisco HQ, a wall lists all the local suppliers, beneath the slogan: Know your farms, know your food.

    I like to start my day with a kimchi rice bowl, or maybe some sushi, says one LinkedIn employee, as we stroll around the never-ending buffet. We have an in-house pastry chef whose cakes are to die for and eight flavours of homemade ice cream.

    Sheathed in a sinister cloak of faceted black glass, somehow befitting the professional networking site, LinkedIns new 26-storey tower is a vertical promenade of tech office cliches. We pass the wireless headphone rack of a silent disco zone and a Nerf missile play area, then a pillow fight meeting room and a post your own haiku wall, each space exuding the forlorn air of a besuited businessman trying to be wacky. Leaving the offices, we pass through a corridor where a distorted trompe-loeil mural makes a slogan appear to float in thin air, filling your field of vision with bold capital letters: FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS.

    Airbnbs
    Airbnbs bedouin tent meeting rooms. Photograph: Mark Mahaney/Mark Maheny

    A few blocks away, one of the regions fastest growing companies is rapidly filling the floors of a former paper factory, where it has converted the industrial spaces into a theatrical playground of themed work zones. At Airbnb, you can have your meetings in a log cabin or a Milanese loft apartment, a bedouin tent or a replica ramen cafe each space meticulously recreated from the websites holiday rental listings.

    According to the companys in-house Environments team, its about how we can create spaces that are home-like, but highly effective, functional spaces that allow people to do great work, but hopefully in ways that surprise us.

    Some people nestle in bean bags, hunched over their laptops on a stepped seating terrace, others meet in an Airstream caravan, while studious types can squirrel themselves away in leather armchairs in a dimly lit study. At the centre of it all, in a defining moment of startup nostalgia, is a meeting room modelled on the apartment down the road where the company first began.

    If the office is trying to be a physical manifestation of the companys motto Belong anywhere it all feels a bit like a budget version of the Crystal Maze, each set decorated with props sourced from eBay or Etsy, and built with the longevity of a shop-window display.

    Ramen
    Time to noodle ramen cafe-themed meeting room at Airbnbs HQ. Photograph: Oliver Wainwright for the Guardian

    Out on the street, leaving the living wall-lined lobby, youre confronted with a stark symbol of one of the symptoms of the success of this room-letting behemoth, in the form of a type of enclosure that doesnt make it into the themed office landscape: the tents of a homeless encampment, huddled beneath the flyover.

    It is a reminder of the side-effects that the booming tech industry is having on the immediate context outside its hermetically sealed, candy-coated walls. The recent influx of companies from the valley to the city, lured here by considerable tax incentives, is not only increasing rents but bringing other unexpected consequences.

    Tech offices can have a kind of deadening effect on the city, says Allison Arieff of SPUR, a non-profit urban research centre. Because they now provide their employees with everything on site for free from coffee to dry-cleaning to haircuts local businesses are often forced to close down when they move in.

    For all their talk of community and the commons, the dotcoms are proving to be some of the least civic-minded businesses around. As a gesture of public goodwill, LinkedIns tower gives a vast chunk of its ground floor over to an airy public room, where you may sit and have your lunch and use the Wi-Fi, but San Franciscans wont be so easily persuaded.

    Nobody cares about your tech job, reads a poster on a nearby lamppost. Be courteous to others when in public and keep the feral careerism of your collegial banter on mute. Or get mugged. We can hear you.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/may/22/nap-pods-and-rooftop-parks-how-silicon-valley-is-reinventing-the-office

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    Louis van Gaal tactics left Manchester United players close to mutiny | Daniel Taylor

    The scale of disillusionment in the Manchester United dressing room has been laid bare as the Louis van Gaal era ended to little sympathy among players or fans

    So, how did it ever reach the stage where the manager of Manchester United can win the FA Cup, with all the glories it is supposed to bring, then be booed by considerable swaths of the clubs supporters and carry the trophy into his press conference only to be informed the news wires were flashing up stories of his imminent sacking?

    For all Louis van Gaals faults, it was certainly a low stunt for that kind of information to be leaked while his suit was still damp from the spray of champagne. Van Gaals diminished popularity can probably be judged by the beery chants of Jos Mourinho on Wembley Way, as well as various stops along the Metropolitan line, throughout Saturday night, but no manager deserves that kind of treatment. Two have now been in this position since Sir Alex Fergusons retirement three years ago and Van Gaal, like David Moyes, found out through the people he called my friends in the media. Except, of course, he didnt say it with any friendliness in his voice.

    He is entitled to feel it could have been handled with more dignity but, equally, it is difficult to argue with Uniteds decision when Van Gaals two-year reign has been synonymous with bland, prosaic football, featuring their worst scoring statistics for more than a quarter of a century and, within the dressing room, a scale of disillusionment that makes it absolutely clear there will be minimal sympathy among the players. Van Gaal has been described among those players as hard work. His tactics have been so unpopular that various members of his squad have talked between themselves about openly defying him. It hasnt reached the point of mutiny, but it has been a close-run thing sometimes. The consensus has been that it cant get much worse than it is.

    A manager does not have to be popular but he needs to be respected and, though there were times when the players warmed to him and even found him good company, Van Gaals often abrasive, almost schoolmasterly approach rubbed against the players like sandpaper. They found his methods restrictive. Why, they asked, was a man with his impressive background so devoted to such an unappealing style? Supporters longed for a return to the old United way attacking, adventurous football, played at speed and with penetration but so did the players, and it pained them that he refused to bend.

    Instead, there was always the gnawing sense they had to stick to Van Gaals rigid system or risk being expelled from the team. United have scored one more goal than fourth-bottom Sunderland a team who spent 237 days in the relegation zone in his final season of talking about the process or the philosophy, and conveniently ignoring how he promised on his arrival that everything would click within three months. It is the least watchable United side in memory and there are numerous stories about how, collectively, the players respect for Van Gaal eroded in the process.

    One example comes in the form of Van Gaals evaluation sessions the day after every match when the Dutchman could be so outspoken in his criticisms he would crucify players in front of each other, according to one source the two most senior players, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, went to see him to air their concerns that it was damaging for morale and, in effect, a self-defeating exercise.

    Van Gaal, to give him his due, was always willing to listen to complaints and encouraged his players to speak up. But the bad feeling continued. From that point onwards, he started sending the players individual emails detailing their faults and submitting video clips to highlight his dissatisfaction. Except by that stage a lot of the players were so disillusioned many ignored the emails or redirected them straight to their trash. Van Gaal suspected as much and had a tracker fitted so he could check if the emails were opened and for how long. It became a game of cat and mouse. Some players opened the emails on their mobiles, then left their phones on the side and wandered off for 20 minutes.

    It reached the point where many players regarded international breaks as a welcome break and the chance to play in a relaxed atmosphere away from a manager they never fully understood and who, to borrow one description, was thought of as weird.

    David de Gea will certainly not be too despondent bearing in mind his relationship with Van Gaal had broken to the point the goalkeeper was giving serious consideration to pressing for a transfer this summer. De Gea has been Uniteds player of the year for the last three seasons and, without him, it is tempting to think their fifth-placed finish, 15 points off the top, would have been significantly worse. Yet his outstanding form masked the fact there was no warmth between him and Van Gaal. The Spaniard had separate issues with Frans Hoek, the goalkeeping coach, but may now be dissuaded from making this his final season in Manchester.

    The idea of losing De Gea, presumably to Real Madrid, would have represented a devastating setback for United given that we are talking about one of the few players with genuine star quality. Otherwise, it is not just Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville and all those other player-turned-pundits from the Ferguson era who insist there will have to be a massive clearout. Many at Old Trafford are saying the same. How many need to go? Ninety per cent, says one important figure, after giving the question long consideration.

    More than anything, the players crave a return to what they consider normality. Ashley Young, for instance, was bemused and mildly horrified earlier this year to be informed he was being given a new role as a back-up centre-forward. Young was one of Uniteds better performers last season when he moved from his customary place on the left wing to play as a full-back. What he has never purported to be is a striker, especially given the way Van Gaal sees the role. Uniteds forwards were under orders to do the same thing virtually every time: control the ball, lay it off and then get in the penalty area and wait for it. Wide players were told that, rather than taking on their man, it was better to wait for the teams fullbacks to arrive in support.

    All of which might help to explain why Van Gaal had misgivings about whether Gareth Bale, a long-time target of the clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, was a natural fit for the team system. Van Gaal talked at Wembley about United needing fast, creative players but this was the manager who came out with a line in one of his first press conferences I do not want players to be intuitive that seemed so extraordinary the journalists in his company had to go over the tape to check they had not misheard.

    With that type of regimented structure, it should be no surprise ngel Di Mara did not flourish at Old Trafford but has excelled for Paris Saint-Germain. Memphis Depay has struggled, too, and his cocksure attitude hardly goes hand in hand with what the 25m signing has shown in his first season at the club. When Depay made a mistake that led to Chelseas goal in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in February he was ordered to play in the reserves the following day. Depay turned up to face Norwich Citys second string in a Rolls-Royce and did not seem to care when it was pointed out to him that it might reflect badly on him. There is, however, a degree of sympathy for him behind the scenes and a desire to give him the benefit of the doubt in the hope that he might be reinvented under a different manager.

    Overall, though, there is no doubt Van Gaals signings have, for the most part, been a significant disappointment. Anthony Martial is the obvious exception but Van Gaal has spent in excess of 250m and for that kind of outlay there has been little back.

    Bastian Schweinsteiger is a case in point after starting only 13 league games since moving from Bayern Munich and the last season has made it absolutely clear why the Bundesliga champions were willing to let him go. Schweinsteigers form has seldom gone above the six-out-of-10 mark but regularly below and it is not just his ponderous performances that have surprised his team-mates. Schweinsteiger has spent large parts of the season injured and his tendency to return to Germany, flying in and out for Uniteds matches, has gone down badly, to say the least.

    Van Gaal gave Schweinsteiger preferential treatment because he saw him as someone who will carry out his instructions to a tee. For similar reasons, he trusted Marouane Fellaini with a key role. Fellaini was often the player the Old Trafford crowd distrusted the most but Van Gaal appreciated the way he listened to orders when it was obvious other players wanted to use their own initiative.

    One of Van Gaals more bemusing instructions was for his strikers not to shoot first-time from balls coming across the penalty area. Instead they were under orders to take a touch in front of goal, even if the relevant players felt confident enough to go for goal straight away. One example goes back to the opening day of the season when Tottenham Hotspur were the opposition and Antonio Valencia sent in a low cross from the right to pick out Rooney, unmarked, in the middle of the penalty area. It seemed like a relatively straightforward finish but Rooney took an extra touch because that was what Van Gaal had drummed into his players. Kyle Walker made a saving tackle only to turn the ball into his own net and Rooney looked almost sheepish as he headed back to the centre circle.

    Over time, the players started ignoring the rule, complaining that they should be allowed to think for themselves (though the story of one player asking Uniteds chef to hard-boil him a couple of eggs to take home, on the basis he did not know how to do it himself, suggests that maybe some members of the squad do need coddling).

    Other sources have revealed how players became so frustrated with Van Gaals instructions they took matters into their own hands and told him they wanted to play their own way. In one case, that player is said to have improved markedly as a result.

    It has also become apparent that a lot of players wanted Ryan Giggs to take over on the basis that he has a better understanding of the club than Mourinho, as well as being less likely to fall out with everyone a couple of years down the line, and it will be intriguing to see whether the Welshman remains at Old Trafford or decides to break free now he has been overlooked for the role that Ferguson, among others, wanted him to inherit.

    Giggss own thoughts about Van Gaals managerial style are understood to fall roughly in line with those of Neville and Scholes, his close friends, and the last couple of years have been exceedingly awkward for him as assistant manager, brought up on the old United principles but having to adhere to a different way of thinking and not wanting to rock the boat.

    It partly explained why Giggs stopped doing interviews if it meant discussing the team and why his body language often looked so stifled on the bench. Every Thursday, United had an 11-versus-11 practice match and it was Giggss role to set up one side in the formation of the team they were about to face and talk about set pieces. Beyond that, however, he did not have a significant say in tactics and was unable to convince Van Gaal to switch to a more entertaining style of football.

    As such, United managed 49 league goals this season; their previous average in the Premier League era was 76.4. They have not been so unproductive since the 1989-90 season when the infamous Tara Fergie banner was held up and it sums up their deterioration that in the three years since Fergusons retirement the team have managed a total of 175 goals 81 fewer than Manchester City and, even more embarrassingly, precisely the same number as Fergusons side accumulated in his last two campaigns.

    At one stage United had more backward passes than any other Premier League club, the lowest percentage when it came to moving the ball forward and the joint second highest ratio sideways. United finished with the most 1-0 wins and the joint highest number of goalless draws. Their total number of shots on target, 430, was the 15th highest out of 20 clubs and Optas number-crunchers have data that shows only three other teams Watford, Aston Villa and West Brom created fewer chances.

    This is the bottom line: Van Gaal gave a new meaning to the saying football, bloody hell. United also suffered their worst start to a season for 25 years in his first campaign, 2014-15, when the players privately blamed his pre-season arrangements on tour in Los Angeles for feeling like a five-star prison camp, with double training sessions, various meetings and an evening supper (a piece of toast) taking up every day from 8.30am to 10.30pm. It was a bad start and, even with an FA Cup to show, the difficult truth is that the Van Gaal years will not be remembered at Old Trafford with any fondness.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/may/22/louis-van-gaal-manchester-united-players-near-mutiny

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