Exciting times are ahead at Manchester United. After suffering their worst season in recent memory, there is quiet optimism among the club and fans that a return to normalcy, and winning trophies, is close. While the sacking of David Moyes may have caused this new wave of optimism, the announcement of Louis Van Gaal as the new manager has really carried it.
With an experienced Dutch manager who has found success across Europe on a three-year deal at Old Trafford, not only is the expectation to return to the top of English football but to stay their whilst adding to a vast collection of trophies at the club. Even Van Gaal himself has added to the expectation by claiming he can make history at United.
But can the new man deliver success? Here are 5 reasons he can:
With a team that is going through a rare rough patch after dominating in England and Europe for many years, who better to repair the giant that is Manchester United? Over his extensive managerial career, Van Gaal has found success in Holland, Spain, and Germany. In each of his stints in these countries, Van Gaal has won the league as well as cups at Ajax, Barcelona, and Bayern respectively. The Dutchman can also count the Champions League in 1995 among his successes.
Coming off an appointment last year where United elected to throw a manager inexperienced in Europe into the fire, which by all accounts failed greatly, a proven winner with an impressive pedigree is a smart choice.
At the beginning of the 2013/14 season, numerous reports came out that the players did not respect or want to work hard for David Moyes. This was not an isolated case, as these reports became an ongoing problem, popping up not once or twice but multiple times. Whether these reports were true or not, it became obvious that the manager was not getting the best out of his players. David Moyes did not have the commanding figure that Sir Alex had.
Van Gaal will not have this problem. With a reputation for taking no nonsense, you can expect Van Gaal will whip the players back into shape, similar to the way Ferguson did. Some players may respond positively to this attitude, and some may not, but overall, a commanding figure usually gets the best of the players.
Van Gaal’s view on tactics is a breath of fresh air for United fans. The Dutch coach’s enthusiasm for attacking football is a stark contrast to the defensive minded approach United displayed this past season. The new Manchester United man also favors high pressing, which is similar to the style Ferguson instilled in United. One can expect they will return to their famous high intensity football.
In Van Gaal’s teams, every player on the pitch has a role, and that role can adapt to the situation, as well as the personnel. This is a very welcome change after a season that saw many players forced into ineffective roles.
Midfield has also been an important link between defense and attack for Van Gaal, so fans may finally see additions in that area. There will likely be changes at the club to fit his vision, but the experienced coach has a clear plan that has brought him success before. Considering the defensive approach at Manchester United failed, a return to attacking can’t be a bad thing.
4. Connection to the Past
By adding Ryan Giggs as his assistant manager, Van Gaal has a tether to the club’s storied past. Having a former player, especially a legend such as Giggs, on his coaching staff, the new manager can transition in much easier than had he decided to clear out the staff completely. Giggs knows the United way by heart, and knows the ins and outs of the club better than anyone. Add in that Giggs knows what it takes to win in English football, and Van Gaal has a very useful resource at his disposal. He will also have a view into the nature of his new players from someone who already has worked with them, which may help Van Gaal develop his plan for United right off the bat.
5. Faith in Youth
What do Clarence Seedorf, Xavi, and Thomas Muller all have in common? They were brought through their clubs and given a chance by Van Gaal. Manchester United has always developed technically gifted youngsters, and with Van Gaal at the helm that tradition will not falter.
With young talents such as James Wilson, Tom Lawrence, and Jesse Lingard looking to cement a place in the first team, it is likely that they will get their chance, which may prove to be a good thing for the success of Manchester United if any of those players can make an impact similar to Adnan Januzaj. The strong foundation focused on youth has brought prosperity in the past, and Van Gaal will only strengthen the foundation.