What Manchester Utd can expect from the reign of Louis van Gaal
Betting has been suspended on who will be the next Manchester United manager after Netherlands chief Louis van Gaal – who has been favourite to take over at Old Trafford since David Moyes’ sacking – declared that he would “love the job”.
He’ll face the difficult task of leading his native country out of a World Cup Group B that also contains Spain and Chile before rocking up in the north west, with Ladbrokes going 1/2 that the Dutch manage it.
Here’s a taste of what the Old Trafford faithful can expect from a coach dubbed ‘The Iron Tulip’:
A top two Premier League finish at worst next season
Van Gaal has managed four clubs during his career – Ajax, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich – and during his first campaigns with each he finished no lower than second.
At Ajax and AZ, the current Dutch coach bagged runners-up honours in his debut seasons before going on to land multiple Eredvisies, while Barca and Bayern both landed league titles during Van Gaal’s first terms at their respective helms.
Man Utd are 6/1 to regain the Premier League title next season.
Disappointment in Europe
Failing to convert domestic success into Champions League trophies was a charge often levelled at Sir Alex Ferguson, so Van Gaal is in illustrious company with his paltry haul in the continent’s premier competition.
After lifting the trophy with Ajax back in 1994/95, the Amsterdam native had to wait 15 years to reach his only other final, when Bayern went down 2-0 to an Inter Milan team led by former Van Gaal coaching disciple Jose Mourinho.
A renewed emphasis on youth
Van Gaal’s phenomenal success at Ajax – where he won six major trophies in as many years, including three Eredivisie titles in a row – was largely due to the emergence of the likes of Edwin van der Sar, the De Boer twins, Clarence Seedorf and Dennis Bergkamp amongst others from the youth ranks.
A theme of promoting youth can be traced through the 62-year-old’s career since, with Victor Valdes and Andres Iniesta both handed their Barcelona debuts during his second reign at the Camp Nou, while Thomas Muller’s raw talent was well nurtured during Van Gaal’s time in Germany.
Plenty of conflict
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano’s recent comments that Van Gaal is “difficult” “tough” and “people don’t like him” are somewhat borne out by the veteran coach’s actions during his career in management.
He fell foul of the press during his first spell at Barcelona and congratulated them for hounding him out of Spain in 2000, then lasted less than a year in Amsterdam on his return to Ajax as a technical director in 2004 due to club infighting.
Of his former protege, Van Gaal insisted:
‘Mourinho teaches his team to win at all costs, while my objective is to win with style and attacking play, which is not so easy.’
Prepare for plenty of fireworks when those two renew rivalries next term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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