Sunday 23 October 2016

Louis van Gaal: United players are starting to understand me

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal celebrates with David De Gea at full time in the game with Liverpool recently
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal celebrates with David De Gea at full time in the game with Liverpool recently

MANCHESTER United manager Louis van Gaal has compared the club’s rocky first few months under his tutelage to learning to drive in England.

United won two of their opening six Premier League games and were dumped out of the League Cup by League One side MK Dons 4-0 in August, as the players struggled in Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system.

Van Gaal will finish his first campaign in charge of The Reds trophyless, but with United fourth in the Premier League and two points behind second-place Manchester City optimism is rife amongst supporters again.

And Van Gaal admitted United’s players found his management style tricky to deal with at the start.

“It’s like somebody coming to England like Louis van Gaal who has to drive with the steering at the other side,” he said on the MUTV documentary Louis van Gaal: My Life. My Philosophy .

“You have to learn that. I could have forced many accidents but I was fortunate I didn’t do that. I was lucky but it was always going better so I don’t have to warn people in my neighbourhood!”

Van Gaal is also confident United players now understand what his much-hyped ‘philosophy’ is.

Van Gaal said United fans made him see the ‘greatness’ of the club

“I attack in four phases and I defend in four phases and I think the players know everything about the philosophy but now they have to perform,” he added.

Van Gaal again expressed his gratitude to United’s supporters for their loyalty.

“The first feeling I had was especially after 11 matches when we had 13 points and I came in the stadium and I thought the fans shall not be pleased,” he said.

“The fans rose and clapped me when I entered. Now I see the greatness of the club.”

The hour-long documentary, aired on Monday night, featured insight from several of Van Gaal’s former players, including Ronald de Boer, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, as well as some of United’s current players.

Robin van Persie (below), who scored four World Cup goals under Van Gaal’s management and once said he would “walk over hot coals” for the Dutchman, described him as an “emotional” coach.

“To play for him you have to be really fit. What he asks from players is not what other coaches ask from other players,” Van Persie said.

“He can be emotional and that’s what I like. Everyone can have a good day or a bad day and he’s no different.”

Wayne Rooney, named United captain by Van Gaal in August, added: “I think he is someone you can trust. That’s a really good quality.’

“He always says if you ever want to speak to him about anything you can. His door is always open. He’s 100 per cent serious.

“You can speak to him about things other than football and he’s a really nice guy.”

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