July 15 -
Louis van Gaal arrives for his new job at Manchester United on
Wednesday on a wave of expectation following the World Cup finals in
Brazil where his reputation was greatly enhanced.
of the 62-year-old coach in taking the Netherlands to third place at the
tournament highlighted the meticulous nature of his preparations and a
The close rapport with his players will
also excite the legions of Man United followers worldwide who are
hoping their club will bounce back after a dismal season under David
Van Gaal bucked convention and ran a gauntlet of heavy
criticism when he changed tactics and ditched the traditional Dutch
attacking style on the eve of the World Cup.
In a country obsessed
with playing possession football, the decision to adapt a defensive
approach with emphasis on swift counter attacks was tantamount to heresy
but Van Gaal was eventually proved right - after getting his senior
players to buy into his belief.
"He had everyone believing in the
tactical changes and the fact it would work for us," said Wesley
Sneijder on the team's return home this week. "Our success in the
tournament was a lot about the coach."
There were few detractors
by the end of the World Cup as the Dutch battled their way to the
semi-finals, eliminated by Argentina only on post-match penalties.
the way Van Gaal made several astute changes to influence the outcome
of matches, drawing widespread praise for innovative thinking.
use of forward Dirk Kuyt as an emergency right back was an example of a
calculated gamble that the Dutch practised in training first before Van
Gaal felt it could work in matches.
BELIEF IN YOUTH
was also not scared to throw young players - like Memphis Depay and
Jordy Clasie - into key World Cup games, highlighting his belief in
In Brazil, Van Gaal made few references to his new job - he
signed a three year contract with United in May - but looked genuinely
enthusiastic when he eventually spoke about his next assignment after
Saturday's 3-0 win over Brazil in the third place play-off.
"It is an exciting challenge," he told Dutch television.
It is a return to club football for the first time since Bayern Munich sacked him in 2011.
Gaal has shown little of his hand yet with the pre-season signings of
Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and Luke Shaw from Southampton.
Barcelona more than decade ago he was heavily criticised for creating a
colony of Dutch players, but one of them says that is unlikely to
happen at Old Trafford.
"There were seven players dominating the
changing room, speaking Dutch and not moving out of our own bubble. It
was a very unhealthy situation and I think Louis realised that. He won't
do it again," Ronald de Boer, now an analyst on NOS television,