Louis Van Gaal may put paradise on hold to extend stay

Manchester United manager’s ambition is to win Champions League

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal smiles during a press conference ahead of Wolfsburg’s visit to  Old Trafford. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal smiles during a press conference ahead of Wolfsburg’s visit to Old Trafford. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

 

There was a moment as Louis van Gaal held court with Bastian Schweinsteiger, contemplating what it would need to add another Champions League to their long and distinguished careers, when the Manchester United manager was informed of something that Alex Ferguson had said about what it was like once you got “the bug” at Old Trafford.

Ferguson, described by the Daily Telegraph once as The Man Who Couldn’t Retire, had been discussing whether Van Gaal might find it equally as hard severing his ties when his contract expires at the end of next season. His conclusion was that Van Gaal might also decide to stay longer, on the basis that “once you get bitten, it is very difficult to walk away”.

The response from Van Gaal was certainly not a flat denial. “Normally I shall leave after next year but what is normal in our football world?” the Dutch man said. “You never know, so I cannot answer that question, but I did promise my wife to go with her to our paradise, so it shall be very hard for me to deny her that promise.

“I was 55 [when I first said I would retire] and then I went to Bayern Munich and next year I am 65. If I say I want to stay a year longer it shall be very hard for my wife.”

The place he calls paradise is his holiday home on the Algarve, where he and Truus plan to spend their retirement, and if Van Gaal goes through with those plans he is not leaving himself a great deal of opportunity – two seasons – to fulfil his ambition of winning the European Cup for a second time.

Better performance

United’s defeat against PSV Eindhoven has left them under pressure to deliver a better performance when they play Wolfsburg, who currently lie fourth in the Bundesliga.

This is the first time United have gone into their second group game without a point since losing to Juventus in 1996 and Wolfsburg’s 5-1 defeat at Bayern last week was their first defeat in 15 matches.

Dieter Hecking has been voted the Bundesliga’s manager of the year after winning the German Cup last season, followed by beating Bayern on penalties to lift the German Super Cup.

They could potentially be tricky opponents, winning their first game against CSKA Moscow, but there is clearly a gulf between Bayern and the other Bundesliga teams – Pep Guardiola’s side have also inflicted a 6-1 away win on Wolfsburg in the last 18 months – whereas United have been showing signs of improvement and Ferguson’s verdict last week was that the collapsed transfer of the goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid “might actually win us the league”.

Van Gaal also considered the domestic championship to be “realistic” and was typically modest when asked to expand on his reasons. “Because I did it everywhere,” came the reply. Guardian Service

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.