No predictions from van Gaal

Man United's new boss van Gaal may have shied away from predictions, but Kluivert reveals he will definitely go for No. 1

Louis van Gaal last night labelled Manchester United the biggest club in the world, as he addressed the media for the first time since taking over at Old Trafford.

The former Bayern Munich, Ajax and Barcelona boss, who was announced as David Moyes' successor in May, took his first training session yesterday before addressing the size of the challenge ahead of him at United.

"I will do my best and that's what I can give. I cannot give predictions because you never know.

"It's the biggest club of the world, which I know already after two days," the 62-year-old, who has won league titles with every club he has managed, told a press conference.

While van Gaal shied away from predictions on how his first season at United will turn out, his former assistant coach with the Dutch national team Patrick Kluivert insists his former boss will be gunning for the EPL title.

Said Kluivert: "He's absolutely going for the Premier League title. A club like Manchester United always has to go for the title and that's what he wants in his first year."

Van Gaal tried to play down expectations last night, saying: "I have to adapt to this club. It shall not be easy, but I will do my utmost best.

"When you see my career, you can see what I have won and that is what I can say. The future shall show if I can do that again."

He added: "It's a great challenge because of the expectation. I worked for Barcelona, in my opinion No. 1 in Spain; I have coached Ajax, No. 1 in Holland; I have coached Bayern Munich, No. 1 in Germany, and now Man United, who are No. 1 in England and I hope I shall fulfil expectations."

Van Gaal's work with Holland at the World Cup - guiding 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 before being unveiled to the press last night.

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 also confirmed that he gave the club the green light to sign Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, 24, from Athletic Bilbao and 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton.

He added that a player's tender age might not mean he lacks experience.

Said van Gaal: "I have said a lot of times, a boy like Clarence Seedorf, he was 16, I let him make his debut (at Ajax). Sometimes he was more experienced than a player of 30 - it depends on the personality."

While there is speculation that as many as 10 players might be offloaded soon (see list at right), van Gaal insisted that he will have a look at every one for the "first few weeks".

He said: "I want to see in the first few weeks what they can do. Maybe then I shall buy other players. I want to see the (current) players perform with my philosophy."

Van Gaal also revealed that England midfielder Michael Carrick will be ruled out for "a long time" due to an injury. The Daily Mail reported that the 32-year-old will be out for 10 weeks after hurting his ankle during training.

Van Gaal has also had a cup of coffee with Sir Alex Ferguson, who had rung him up to congratulate him on his appointment.

Said van Gaal: "We were always invited to Uefa (meetings) and we always did a night out with a glass of wine. So I will have a glass of wine, the better wine, with him." - PA Sport.

What is van Gaal like? These quotes, taken from a presentation to Dutch businessmen before the World Cup, might shed some light


The national coach (me) sees opportunities because he believes in vision and structure. When I say that, I mean MY vision, and my structure. Yes, that is arrogant. I bet you hear that people find me arrogant. It does not bother me. I am NOT arrogant. But I do believe in my vision.


I can’t do it on my own. Because I don’t know everything, do I? I know you start laughing, because I am portrayed continuously like I do know everything.

When I became national coach, the whole world thought I was going to pick the players who had to get us to the World Cup. No! First the staff! I always first pick my staff! I have to surround myself with good staff.


A team with tactics with a triangle-shaped midfield, with the point in the direction of the defence.

When I saw the Dutch squad for the first time two years ago, I showed them... Barcelona, who play with the triangle midfield with the point directing to the defence, one controlling midfielder.

That is how they play. But they don’t have a real striker. They have a different kind of striker. That is (Lionel) Messi, indeed a very different (type of) striker. I prefer to have a real striker in my team. Not a false No. 9, which Messi is.



  • Ander Herrera — from Athletic Bilbao
  • Luke Shaw — from Southampton


  • Rio Ferdinand — to QPR
  • Nemanja Vidic — to Inter Milan
  • Ryan Giggs — retired
  • Alexander Buttner — Dynamo Moscow


  • Patrice Evra
  • Marouane Fellaini
  • Luis Nani
  • Tom Cleverley
  • Ashley Young
  • Javier Hernandez
  • Wilfried Zaha
  • Bebe
  • Nick Powell
  • Anderson

Kagawa out to impress

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Shinji Kagawa (above) accepts that he needs to up his game after a poor showing at the World Cup.

Japan's Shinji Kagawa has vowed to prove his worth to new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal after a disappointing World Cup plunged his future into further doubt.

"I feel incredibly excited," Kagawa told reporters at Tokyo's Haneda airport yesterday before leaving for England.

"It's a new start and I feel re-energised. It's up to the players to get the results we need. I have a strong desire to do well."

Kagawa, an instant hit for United after being signed by Alex Ferguson from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in 2012, found himself largely frozen out last season under the troubled reign of David Moyes.

United's decision to sack Moyes in April, after just 10 months in charge, and the arrival of Dutch World Cup coach van Gaal have left Kagawa sweating over his fate.

"I'll look more closely at my game and accept the challenge filled with passion," said the 25-year-old, who gave three poor displays at the World Cup as Japan finished last in Group C.

Van Gaal is expected to decide whether to offer Kagawa, who has 
two years left on his contract, an extended deal.

United will play in the pre-season International Champions Cup in North America beginning on July 24. The tournament also features Liverpool, Manchester City, AS Roma, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Olympiakos. - AFP.

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