Louis van Gaal: Manchester United are the biggest club in the world
Manchester ( DIPLOMAT) Louis van Gaal says Manchester United are the biggest club in the world but have to re-establish themselves after last season’s horror show.
Van Gaal took charge of his first press conference since taking the Old Trafford helm after leading Holland to third in the World Cup.
The Dutchman paid tribute to United’s power on the world stage but also reminded fans of the sharp improvement needed on last season.
‘Last season you were seventh so you are not the biggest club. You have to prove yourself,’ he said.
‘But all over the world people are talking about Manchester United – that is the difference.
‘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.
‘I have never worked in the Premier League and that is a big challenge.
‘When I worked at Barcelona that was the best league. When I worked in Germany that was the best league.
‘Now I work here maybe this is the best league.’
Van Gaal has previously been quoted as saying ‘holidays are for wimps’ as he gets straight to work at United.
He continued: ‘When there is a challenge like this I cannot let it go. This is also a holiday for me because I like to work.’
Despite lavishing praise on his new club, Van Gaal identified a problem with the club’s Carrington training complex – designed to Sir Alex Ferguson’s specifications – namely that it is too windy.
‘It’s unbelievable how many people are working for the same cause.
‘It’s also a family and everybody is proud to work for Manchester United.
‘That feeling I have is fantastic. But the (training ground) needs some more intimacy and I have asked (for that) already.
‘Because now it is an open field and there is always wind and wind is not always the friend of the players and the football. So we have to do something about that. But the facilities are fantastic.’
Ferguson had described the enhanced training headquarters as his ‘best signing’ and well worth the investment from the club.
He said: ‘It’s given us a training facility where all the players are saying, “Wow, this is some training ground now”. It’s one of the best. And I think if any player were to come here with any doubts about where they should be, they’ll soon find out that this is a fantastic set-up.’
Van Gaal refused to rule out new arrivals, but wants to give his current squad the chance to impress in pre-season.
He also revealed that Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera were signed with his approval.
‘My method is always the same – I want to look at the players I have now,’ he said.
‘I want to see in the first few weeks what they can do. Maybe then I shall buy others players. 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.
‘I know all the players how they have played football, but that’s under the direction of Moyes, Ferguson or Hodgson.
‘I want to see how they perform my philosophy. We need training sessions. We will wait a month and see if we buy another player.
‘The players are coming back at different times and will not be prepared to play. That is difficult after a World Cup.
‘But we need to be careful because you cannot over-train players.’
Van Gaal – who also confirmed Michael Carrick has suffered an injury which could keep him out for 10 weeks – declined to make a statement on United’s chances, but believes he can live up to a club of their stature.
‘I will do my utmost best but 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,’ he said.
‘The future will show if I can do that again.’
Van Gaal also there will still be roles at the club for ‘Class of ’92’ stalwarts Paul Scholes and Phil Neville.
Another of that vintage, Ryan Giggs, is van Gaal’s No 2, while Nicky Butt is working at the club.
‘Nicky Butt is already assisting us. We will find a role for Paul Scholes and Phil Neville. That is what we want,’ he said.
‘We have to adapt to the qualities of these people and we’ll have to speak to them personally and wait and see.’
There is one important decision Van Gaal has not made and that is who will captain United.
Robin van Persie was given the armband by Van Gaal for Holland and there are some who think he will fulfill the same role at United.
The Dutch forward would have competition, however, not least from strike partner Wayne Rooney.
Van Gaal said: ‘All the players are a possible candidate (for captain).
‘But I have to get to know them. The captain’s role is very important and therefore I need time.
‘Sometimes I haven’t had time and I’ve made quick decisions, which aren’t always good.
‘I will take my time because the captain is very important.’
Legendary former manager Ferguson has been in touch, with Van Gaal promising to have a glass of wine with the iconic boss.
He said: ‘He (Sir Alex) called me to congratulate me and we have spoken about a cup of coffee.
‘We were always invited to UEFA and we always did a night out with a glass of wine.
‘So I will have a glass of wine, the better wine, with him.’
The Dutch boss has a reputation of being a hard task-master and aggressive nut he insisted: ‘(My reputation) is unfair. The media wants to show that side (of my personality).
‘From 39 I was head coach of Ajax and until now my personality has not changed. Autocratic and strong personality are not the same word, some people think it is.
‘Sir Alex also has a strong philosophy. He was always confirming that by winning a lot of titles.
‘I hope I can start with that philiosophy.
‘I am democratic. I am empathetic to human beings and I have a strong personality.’
Van Gaal also paid tribute to Old Trafford icon Sir Bobby Charlton, with whom he held up a United shirt with the No 1 on the back.
‘I want to thank Sir Bobby Charlton because it’s a great honour to come in this stadium and be guided by him,’ Van Gaal said.
‘These were my first steps as coach of Manchester United and I was very proud to do that with Sir Bobby Charlton.
‘I saw him play and I know what he means to English football. It was a great honour.’For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com