“I will do my utmost best. That is all I can give. I don’t give predictions. It is the biggest club in the world. I have to work; I have to prepare the team. It will not be easy, said Louis Van Gaal following being officially unveiled to the eagerly awaiting media by Manchester United icon Sir Bobby Charlton.
Meet Louis Van Gaal,the clubs first manager from outside the British Isles. Maverick, Madman and Legend! The Dutch master had the media eating out of his palms with a show of honesty, dominance and a little arrogance. Van Gaal has been here before, Barcelona, Bayern, Ajax Amsterdam and of course the Dutch national team and showed the authority of a man totally at ease with his new challenge. A stark contrast to the failure that was David Moyes who seemed totally out of place.
Van Gaal ticks all the boxes of a United manager. He’s a winner, he is a big personality, he has a clear and distinct philosophy and most importantly he has the strong personality that demands the respect of his players. His “It’s My Way Or The Highway” approach (remind you of someone? ;)) will cause players like Wayne Rooney, who has been in for preferential treatment by the former regime, out of his comfort zone. Van Gaal approach isn’t aimed at alienating his players but in turn its meant to keep them performing at their maximum.
The Dutch national team over-achieved at the World Cup and one of the reasons for that was an incredible team spirit and togetherness. This can only come from the manager and from the players who are willing to fight for the cause. Van Gaal’s main job is to reform that togetherness that David Moyes had fractured.
“I am a democratic. Empathetic … to humans. And a strong personality. But the other characteristics are more important.” Proves the point of being strong, being immovable and dominant.” I have the same personality. Autocratic and strong personality is not the same word. It is a strong philosophy. Sir Alec (!) also has a strong philosophy.” It was Fergie that once said the most important person at Manchester United is the manager. A weak one will never be successful, as Moyes proved.
The Dutchman went on to speak about the next topic, an important one, his philosophy, Now since his official signing before the World Cup, journos, fans and former players have all had their say regarding systems, who fits in and who doesn’t etc, however it’s important to look at the Dutch national team at the World Cup. Total Footballa mantra, nope sorry, a way of life in the Netherlands was ripped up and refined into a winning formula, much to the chagrin of many a Dutch purist. However it’s worth noting this team finished unbeaten (a first in their history), destroyed the former world champions,Spain,and outclassed Brazil in their own back yard … so who won there? A Maverick or The Purist?
That showed us the caliber of the man leading the club we adore, the caliber of mind he has. Tactically no manager at the World Cup could compete. Of course Manchester United are a different beast to the Dutch, different expectations and, by the time the transfer window closes, perhaps a better squad. A return to the familiar 4-3-3 or maybe a 4-2-3-1 or stick with 3-4-1-2 … it’s pretty relative. What’s important is that winning football will return. That’s a start.
The players need not worry about the capability of the manager any more. Many have predicted a clear-out however the manager has taken the sensible route. “My method is always the same. I want to look at the players now, present. Surely the first three, four weeks, I will see what they want to do. Then I will see about other players. I want to see the players performing my philosophy.”, proves fairness and some may argue that the likes of Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley should be booted out the door before the press conference but a manager cannot ask players for a chance when he isn’t willing to give one.
Many of the squad under achieved under David Moyes but have now been given a second chance, a clean slate if you will. Young players will no doubt thrive under Van Gaals tutelage, as his record of dealing with youth at every club he’s been at is envious. From Davids, Kluivert and Seedorf at Ajax to Puyol and Xavi at Barcelona to Mueller and Kroos at Bayern, proves that Busby’s philosophy and is safe and so too is the future of some of our young stars.
When asked for his expectations regarding the upcoming season he clearly and honestly remarked “For me the challenge is always first, and not fourth.” Yes, this is just a press conference and yes, the action on the pitch where it matters hasn’t started yet but the precedence has been set. Moyes at his first press conference emitted fear, uncertainty and a sense of misplacement. Van Gaal emitted dominance, clarity and hope.
Moyes “We aspire to be like City”, Van Gaal “This is the biggest club in the world” is sadly the difference between loser and legend. Brace yourselves, The Iron Tulip has arrived!