Now that was a press conference! Strong, exuberant, confident and clinical, Louis Van Gaal looked every inch a Manchester United manager as he faced the British press for the first time. After the over excited and overwhelmed interview David Moyes gave this time last year, it was crucial Van Gaal gave United a glimpse of what he will bring to the table. He gave nothing away, he said the right things and even gave us a taste of his short temper when asked (what he deemed) a stupid question. The best way to describe his first press appearance was that it looked right.
The biggest mistake Moyes made when dealing with the press last year was his boastful attitude about United’s finances and his very public pursuit of Cesc Fabregas. There was no repeat today. Absolutely no questions were asked regarding United’s apparent pursuit of Arturo Vidal which we can safely assume was Van Gaal’s orders. When asked about transfer business he gave nothing away, merely deflecting the question by stressing the importance of implementing his philosophy before looking at additions. He repeated the importance of this philosophy on several occasions indicating that he has a plan which he is confident of. Everyone in the club is now itching to see it executed.
Knowing what Manchester United is about sounds like a worn out cliché but Van Gaal personifies it. By mentioning last season’s failure and fourth not being enough he brought back that winning feeling that departed with Fergie just over a year ago. Cohesion between manager and squad is vital and this was the core to the entire conference. The issue of who will be Man United’s new captain is a potential stumbling block to this cohesion but when asked about this Van Gaal brushed it aside by claiming every player is a candidate but was sure to stress the importance of the role. Rooney and Van Persie are the outstanding candidates but Van Gaal gave no inclination on who will be wearing the armband come August. Rooney’s apparent departure never left the papers last summer and Moyes was visibly affected by it, no such issue over the captaincy will be present this time round.
Other than the bad news of Carrick’s ‘long term’ injury, everything went smoothly and Van Gaal radiated confidence throughout. Now the squad jets of to the US for United’s pre-season tour where the new manager can assess what he has before making further improvements to his squad, improvements that are sure to be of the highest quality to match the high quality manager United have chosen.