Former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was unveiled as the new manager of Manchester United today at Old Trafford with promises of entertaining football and more intimacy on the training ground at Carrington.
Van Gaal took an unfancied Netherlands side to a World Cup semi-final and only then lost out narrowly to Argentina on penalties.
An unfancied Manchester United side, who finished seventh last season, will benefit from van Gaal’s deiscipline, tenacity and know how. While Van Gaal was not willing to give away to much, his number two at the World Cup, Patrick Kluivert, asserted how Van Gaal would be definitely trying to win the title in his first season, and went on to throw his name in the hat regarding a coaching position with the club, via an interview with TalkSport.
There has been a rash of speculation reagrding the players that Van Gaal is looking to axe, with Anderson, Nani, Wilfried Zaha, and Ashley Young some of the names mentioned. The Manchester United squad leave for their US tour today with Anderson staying behind to do work at Carrington, meaning the Brazilian has been on the end of several media reports today.
The Dutch coach was introduced alongside club legend Bobby Charlton at 3pm. Van Gaal was full of praise for Chalrton and his influence on the English game before offering his first glimpse of the icy figure that he is sometime sportrayed as, when asked about predictions on United’s success, “I will not give predictions. It is the biggest club in the world. When you see my career you can see what I have won. The future will show if I can do that again.”
This was before sending out a warning to any clubs threatening to steal United’s crown as England’s biggest club, “’It is a great challenge because of that and that is why I chose this club. I have coached Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich who are all No 1 in their country. Now I am at Manchester United which is No 1 in England.”
The speculation linking players with moves away means little to Van Gaal, however, who appears quick to give every player a chance using his innovative tactics, “’Shaw and Herrera were already on the list. I gave my approval because I like them. I want to see the (current) players perform with my philosophy.”
A lot has been said about the importance of Van Gaal’s captain within his squad and the new manager reiterated this point, “All the players are a possible candidate. But I have to get to know them. The captain’s role is very important and I need time.” before going on to state the obvious following questions about himself, “‘I am democratic. I am empathetic to human beings and I have a strong personality.” and this was also before the inevitable was mentioned, Alex Ferguson. Ferguson and van Gaal are said to enjoy a certain amount of control, but van Gaal claims there is a difference between being autocratic and strong personality.
A relationship with Sir Alex is something that van Gaal says he is looking forward to cultivating, while mentioning that sharing a glass of wine is something that he would enjoy. Despite the fact that Ferguson is now retired, he still holds a very special place at Manchester United.
A massive amount of Van Gaal’s players are young, inexperienced and unknown. This is something the Dutchman certainly tries to instill in his squads, stating that experience is not a very big factor for him.
So it seems Louis van Gaal is the same man as we thought he was. Big on bringing in youngsters, quick with a phrase to journalists speaking out of turn, and always quick to defend his philosophies and management style. David Moyes lacked the kind of personality to make it at the top level, but van Gaal certainly looked at home and confident during his first press conference with his new club.
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