Manchester United players can expect to win – and play better football

Manchester United’s players can expect to be better footballers and win titles under Louis van Gaal’s management – this is the message from those who have been in his teams. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

Manchester United’s players can expect to be better footballers and win titles under Louis van Gaal’s management – this is the message from those who have been in his teams. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

 

Manchester United’s players can expect to be better footballers and win titles under Louis van Gaal’s management – this is the message from those who have been in his teams. Beyond a CV that shows the Dutchman claiming championships at all four of his previous clubs, plus the Champions League at Ajax, is a story of how Van Gaal’s tutelage allows talent to flower.

Winston Bogarde played under Van Gaal at Ajax, from 1994-97, and Barcelona, from 1998-2000, winning the Champions League and two Dutch and Spanish titles.

“Van Gaal is one of the best coaches, he likes to play football,” Bogarde said. “And he enjoys coaching players, getting the best from players. He likes to play with young talent and develop it.”

A key component of Van Gaal’s success is his ability to spot what players have missed about themselves, with his genius for harnessing this transforming some careers. At Bayern, Van Gaal converted David Alaba from midfielder to left back, as he did with Simon Poulsen, when managing AZ Alkmaar from 2005-09.

‘Made me better’
“He can get an extra five or 10 per cent from players,” Poulsen said. “He made me better. I changed my position under him. I was a left winger, now I’m a left back and I made a lot of international games in that position. The first time he told me I thought he was crazy but it turned out to be my best position.”

The Dane suggests Van Gaal’s man-management skills are more subtle than the stern persona suggests. “It doesn’t make a difference to him players who are not in the team.

“For instance with myself, in the beginning I wasn’t playing so much but even if I had an argument with one of the players who play every game he didn’t take their side. He was always honest. When you’re not on the field he will come and ask you: ‘How are you?’ ”

Bogarde warns. “He plans a lot and you will know exactly as a player what you should do during a game and your opponent, how he plays.

Commands respect
“He has his own style but it depends on the players, though he likes to play attacking football. He commands respect and has a strong personality and he wants to do it his way, he’s good at making the players do what he wants.”

So, as Bogarde adds, the message for United players is to get on-message and stay on-message with the man known as the Iron Tulip. “As long as you understand what he wants in return, he is a manager who supports his players and has confidence in his players.

Every player likes to have success - he’s one of the most successful coaches in the world. He is going to be a big asset for the Premier League. ” –
Guardian Service

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