All-knowing van Gaal just what Man United need
... and I know best, says van Gaal
If anyone doubted the veracity of the Louis van Gaal legend, they will doubt no longer.
In the short time that the Dutchman (far right) has been in charge of Manchester United, he has opened fire on his predecessor, his rivals, his own players and his own superiors.
This is what happens when you hire the most notoriously pugnacious manager in European football.
It is exactly what United needed.
Under David Moyes, the club lost their swagger. Led by an inherently good man who was nevertheless reluctant to betray his austere, sensible roots, the club forgot what they were.
They are Manchester United. They do what they want. Or at least they are supposed to do what they want.
Under Moyes, they were simply too shy to do what they wanted. They played cautious football, they made cautious signings, they avoided risk.
That ideology has now changed.
Van Gaal believes, with no small amount of justification, that he knows better than everyone.
In Amsterdam, he built one of the greatest club sides of the last 50 years. He won more titles with Barcelona, more still with Bayern Munich. He even won one with AZ Alkmaar.
Why wouldn't he believe in himself?
So when he says that the United squad are "broken" and "unbalanced", it would be wise to listen.
Even in 21st-century football, where the players seem to hold all the power, there is room for the old-fashioned autocratic dictator.
Jose Mourinho, once a pupil of van Gaal, is clear evidence of that. The patterns are well established: Divide and conquer; ruthlessly punish 'pour encourager les autres'; show no fear in the face of your enemies, both within and without.
This is van Gaal's way.
His swipe at Mourinho this week was effortless, but highly efficient. In one soundbite, he made it clear that Chelsea will not intimidate him and that he will not play those kind of games in public.
The debate is over and Mourinho has given away his position. By attacking United, he revealed that he deems them a threat.
First blood to van Gaal.
Criticism of Moyes is required to create a narrative for the future and it is hardly without justification. The squad are obviously unbalanced, lacking cover at the back, on the left and overloaded with attacking midfielders.
Mistakes were made at all levels last season and they cannot be rectified immediately. Criticism of his players is necessary to prevent dissent. They must fear van Gaal as they never feared Moyes.
If Luke Shaw was under the impression that his price tag guaranteed his inclusion in the team, he has now been reminded of his true status.
VAN GAAL'S WRATH
He trains alone until he is deemed fit enough to train with the senior side. His feet are now firmly rooted to the floor. The other players will have noted this with interest. Even the people who hired the Dutch manager have felt his wrath now, stung by his attacks on their pre-season schedule.
It is a commonly used tactic in business to take a job and then immediately start a fight with your superiors, if only to make them think twice about starting one with you.
Human nature guarantees that Ed Woodward and his boardroom colleagues will be even more reluctant to say anything out of turn now.
Van Gaal is doing this because he knows, even without the example of his predecessor, that you do this job your way, or you get to do it for only a very short period.
All the respect and manners in the world didn't save Moyes. Van Gaal knows that if other people get upset, they are merely collateral damage.
Ultimately, the success or failure of his methods will be determined by the success or failure of his team.
If United start the season like an express train, the verdict will be that his fire has re-ignited the club. Anything less than a permanent presence in the top four and it will be a very different story.
Van Gaal has one chance to restore United to their perch before a pattern of failure sets in.
Don't doubt for a moment that he will take it. No matter who he upsets.
Van Gaal: No rift with Mourinho
Louis van Gaal will not get drawn into any mind-games with Jose Mourinho this season and he says he still regards the Chelsea manager as his "friend".
Mourinho controversially claimed earlier this week that United were paying over the odds for Luke Shaw, a £27 million ($57m) signing from Southampton who reportedly now earns in the region of £100,000 a week.
Mourinho said had Chelsea paid that kind of money to the 19-year-old, it would have "killed" the London club.
United boss van Gaal hinted he would speak privately to Mourinho about the matter. Many saw that as a sign the two former colleagues were set for a rocky relationship this season.
Mourinho, who worked as van Gaal's assistant at Barcelona for three years, has a record of trying to wind up fellow managers.
But van Gaal is sure he will have a harmonious relationship with the Portuguese this term even though both he and his former protege are in charge of teams vying for the title.
"I don't think I will fall out with him. He is my friend," van Gaal said of Mourinho.
"I don't think (I will fall out with) all the other managers. I have full respect for all my colleagues.
"For me (mind games) are not so interesting. I have to manage my club.
"That is already difficult enough. I am not concerned with other clubs or other managers."
AURA LIKE SIR ALEX
Although he has only been in position for a couple of weeks, the Dutch manager has been compared to Sir Alex Ferguson, who was the master when it came to manager mind games.
Ryan Giggs said the new United boss had an "aura" about him - just like Ferguson.
Being compared to a man who won 13 Premier League titles with United has gone down well with the new man at the helm.
"I highly respect Sir Alex because I don't think there is another manager who has won so many titles," he said.
"I (have) won a lot of titles, but he did it in one club and that is fantastic and, when you compare Sir Alex with me, I am very proud."
Van Gaal, of course, is the second man to have a go at trying to fill Ferguson's shoes and succeeding David Moyes would appear to be a much easier task than directly following Ferguson, but van Gaal disagrees.
In his eyes, Ferguson left Moyes with a team of winners. He says he is inheriting a "broken" squad.
"No, I don't agree. When there is success you have a very good squad but, now, I take over a squad which was broken I think." - PA Sport.
Ferdinand: I was ready to retire
Rio Ferdinand admits he was ready to turn to a television career and retire from football before Harry Redknapp offered to bring him to QPR this summer.
Ferdinand, who turns 36 in November, was allowed to leave Manchester United at the end of last season after 12 successful years at Old Trafford.
The defender was a free agent while he worked as a television pundit at the World Cup in Brazil and, although several offers came from England and abroad, he was preparing to hang up his boots before Rangers came in.
"If I had not come back to a team in London, I probably would have retired," Ferdinand said.
"I would have done TV, maybe coaching. I enjoyed the TV work in the summer, so I would have done more of that." - PA Sport.