Champions League

'Van Gaal made me a better player' - Cocu

2015-09-14 17:33
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

Eindhoven - PSV Eindhoven coach Phillip Cocu said Manchester United's Louis van Gaal "made me a better player", as the two managers square off for the first time in Tuesday's Champions League opener.

Cocu, who played under van Gaal as a Dutch national and at Barcelona, will go head-to-head with his former tutor, hoping past experience will give him an added advantage.

"He made me a better player," Cocu told journalists at a pre-match press conference on Monday in what is set to be an intriguing Dutch-on-Dutch tussle.

Van Gaal taught "me the tactical skills and the ways he worked with the team," said Cocu, who declined to divulge his own starting line-up or match tactics.

Asked about van Gaal's strongest characteristics, Cocu said: "He is always optimally prepared. It doesn't matter for what game."

"Tactically he's also very strong," he added.

Cocu had high praise for former PSV winger Memphis Depay, who is back at his old stamping ground after joining the Red Devils over the summer.

"Memphis will bring in the goals (for Manchester). He's physically strong and he's a quick learner," said Cocu.

Depay is also very loyal "and will die for his fellow players," the PSV coach added.

"An opponent has to put two players against him and that means that the rest of the team can benefit," said Cocu.

United make their return to the Champions League away to PSV in a clash which will see Dutch winger Depay return to the club he left in the summer for £25 million.

Depay has struggled since his arrival at United with French teenager Anthony Martial's goalscoring debut against Liverpool on Saturday distracting from the 21-year-old's struggles.

Depay should get a warm reception in the Philips Stadion having helped PSV to a first title win in seven years last season.

The forward was the Dutch league's top scorer with 22 goals, but United fans are yet to see the same form of a player that shone for PSV and the Netherlands at the World Cup.

Said Cocu: "I'm not surprised that Memphis has some ups and downs. Each player needs a few months to get used to the Premier League."

"After he's played for a few months he'll get a lot better."

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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