Louis Van Gaal ready for Manchester United challenge
‘When you see my career, you can see what I have won . . . the future shall show if I can do that again’
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and club ambassador Bobby Charlton during a photocall at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photograph: Martin Rickett / PA Wire
Louis van Gaal said he was only interested in winning the Premier League in his first season as manager while also revealing that Michael Carrick had picked up a serious injury.
Asked if a Champions League finish was the minimum the Dutchman required in his first campaign, Van Gaal said: “For me, the challenge is always to come first. Not fourth. But that depends on things clicking between the players and manager. I have a strong philosophy. Sir Alex Ferguson did too, and he won a lot of titles. I hope I can do that.
“First of all I have to see how the players perform my philosophy and how quickly they pick it up. I haven’t worked with most of them so we have to wait and see – it’s very important that there is a click between the players and the manager. For me the challenge is first and not fourth, but when you analyse it it’s about the click.”
Regarding Carrick, Van Gaal said that the midfielder had suffered a serious injury in the last day or two, describing it as a “big blow”. It was later confirmed to be a 12-week absence due to ankle surgery, which naturally rules him out of the summer tour. The club are flying to Los Angeles for a series of pre-season friendlies on Friday.
Asked if he could fulfil expectations at Old Trafford, the 62-year-old said: “I think I can. But it is difficult because the greatness of this club is more than other clubs. And this club is guided in a commercial way and it is not always possible to meet commercial and football expectations. That is my big challenge after two days.”
Van Gaal’s work with Holland at the World Cup, when he guided them to third place, delayed his introduction at Old Trafford.
He arrived at the club’s Carrington training ground for a low-key first day on Wednesday and had a briefing from his staff, the assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg, the chief opposition scout Marcel Bout and his assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
When asked about not taking a holiday following the World Cup, Van Gaal said he could not think about having a vacation with such a huge challenge hanging over him.
“I could not let them go. When you are asked by the biggest club in the world, it’s a big chance for me,” he said. “When there is a challenge like this, I never let it go.”
Van Gaal was appointed in May on a three-year deal vowing to “make history” at the club. He emerged as United’s preferred choice shortly after David Moyes was sacked but the club asked Giggs to take temporary charge until the end of the season while they concluded a deal with the Dutchman.