Van Gaal on Ferguson shadow: ‘I really don’t think it’s the biggest problem’
Manchester United’s new coach Louis van Gaal insisted Tuesday that he has “no fear” of living in the shadow of emblematic former manager Alex Ferguson.
Van Gaal, 62, will take over as the new manager of the English Premier League giants after the Dutch campaign at the World Cup with former player Ryan Giggs as his assistant.
“Pressure I put on myself. That Alex Ferguson is looking over my shoulder I really don’t think it’s the biggest problem,” van Gaal was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s edition of Dutch football magazine Voetbal International.
Ferguson managed United for 27 years until 2013, winning 13 Premier League and two Champions League titles, and is now a member of the board of directors.
“I also get on very well with him,” said Van Gaal.
“My objective is that Manchester United quickly regain their number one spot. They (club bosses) think that I’m capable of achieving this in the first season, not only with the star players but also with the young ones.
“It’s a daunting task but a fantastic challenge.”
Van Gaal has signed a three-year contract to succeed David Moyes who was sacked after a disastrous run of results saw United fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Van Gaal’s contact with Man United only goes back a few weeks, since Moyes sacking, the Dutchman confirmed.
“When Manchester came knocking on my door, I didn’t think about it for long: Manchester United is the biggest club in the world in terms of marketing and budget.”
But he insisted the appointment would not take his focus off the World Cup in Brazil.
“My work at the head of the Oranje does not suffer from the current situation,” he insisted. “I worked for Manchester during my days off.
“I’ve already talked a lot with the English bosses. They already know the names of the players I would like to have, but also those who are allowed to leave,” he explained.
“I’ve never dealt with transfers and I’m not going to start now, just to say which players I want to have and what players can go. I don’t discuss money.”
He added: “It takes time to negotiate with a club, it is a real process. There are things that need to be addressed, such as the team preparation programmes, the players, the youth programme.”
Van Gaal added that he was “proud to have been chosen” to spearhead United and had been overwhelmed by the many messages of congratulations, including from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
“Jose Mourinho was one of the first to text me. He said he was jealous of my list of clubs,” said the former Ajax, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.
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Published: May 20, 2014 04:00 AM