“After two days of training under him I thought, ‘Who is this idiot?’ After a week, I thought, ‘He’s right.’ He’ll always be in my heart, Louis van Gaal,” Xavi, now playing for Qatari club Al Sadd, told ESPN FC. “[He is a] good person, very good trainer. He has a very strong character but he’s calm in the Premier League because there’s less pressure. “He’s much calmer than when he was at Barca or Bayern Munich. He’s honest, methodical and a real perfectionist. “He’s very demanding, he’s strict and he wants to achieve the highest levels possible. “He’s a tough fighter, yet he put trust into me when I was 17 and 18 years old.” Xavi also has experience of being coached by Jose Mourinho, who worked for Van Gaal at Barcelona, and he had nothing but praise for the Portuguese, whose methods are under growing scrutiny at Chelsea. “He was excellent in his three years at Barca,” Xavi added. “They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of Van Gaal. “He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent. “I’m surprised that he became known for another type of football, more defensive, because he wasn’t like that with us.” Former Barcelona captain Xavi admits he initially thought Louis van Gaal was an “idiot” but changed his mind after a week working with him. The ex-Spain international was a youngster breaking through at the Nou Camp when Van Gaal was in charge at Barca and his first impression was not great. However, he soon altered his view and grew to love the Dutchman – a feeling which does not yet appear to have materialised among Manchester United fans since he took over at Old Trafford last year, with Xavi admitting the 64-year-old is also “poorly valued in the media”. Press Association
But with the team’s opener nearing, Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday he wants to decide by next weekend whether Luck or backup Jacoby Brissett will be the starter.”You have to be able to make a call and move from there,” Reich said, “whether we’re full speed with Andrew after that third preseason game (Aug. 24) or if at that point we are going with Jacoby.”Luck, 29, earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection last season after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was also named the Pro Football Writers Association’s Comeback Player of the Year for his resurgence after undergoing surgery. Chargers’ Melvin Gordon prepared to sit out season without new deal, report says The Colts have been cautious with Luck, who also dealt with a nagging shoulder injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season, so it’s unlikely they’ll push him too hard too soon. Luck suffered a calf strain this spring and participated in just three practices during training camp, all as a limited participant. Colts owner Jim Irsay later revealed Tuesday that Luck is dealing with a “small little bone” injury in his lower left leg, which will likely force him to sit out the entire preseason.“I feel very confident he’s going to find a way through this thing. I think after the (Kevin) Durant thing, everyone is erring on the side of caution, but quite frankly, this is not even in the Achilles tendon,” Irsay said. “It’s a bone. I’m not good at these things, but it’s a small little bone.” Related News Titans coach Mike Vrabel downplays joint practice brawl Tony Romo thinks Cowboys can sign all three of their stars There’s a new sense of hope surrounding Andrew Luck’s latest injury.According to a report from ESPN, which cited unidentified sources, there’s a “guarded optimism” the franchise quarterback could be ready for the Colts’ regular-season opener Sept. 8 at the Chargers.