- Premier League
Boom! Van Persie energised by Van Gaal
Robin van Persie says he has a bond with Louis van Gaal that makes him more like a friend that a manager and claims his coaching approach is inspiring.
The Manchester United striker has been working with his new club manager at the Netherlands' pre-World Cup training camp and says that Van Gaal's fabled direct style is 'energising'.
Van Persie said: "We've had many great conversations over the past two years about football but also about other things. You don't have that bond with every coach
"He has a different approach to the other coaches I've worked under, but I like it a lot. He is very clear and honest - he says when something is good and when something is not good, but there is always room for discussion.
"He creates a very relaxed atmosphere, but he is typically Dutch: direct. Boom! He has only one aim, and that is to improve. I don't find that exhausting - I find it energising. Wonderful."
Van Persie has worked with Van Gaal since 2012, when the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss took charge of the Netherlands for the second time, and the pair quickly established a strong bond.
However, their relationship threatened to get off to a rocky start when, upon taking charge after Euro 2012, Van Gaal warned that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would be preferred in attack as Van Persie had failed to deliver for his country.
"He didn't even rule out the possibility that I would be third-choice striker," Van Persie laughed in an interview with Sp!ts when asked about those remarks this week. "It was a great conversation. We only talked briefly about that situation - we spoke more about football generally. During that conversation, we got to know each other, because I'd never spoken to him before. From the first minute, things went very well."
Van Persie quickly reasserted himself in the Dutch line-up and, asked whether he thinks the coach was trying to get a reaction, Van Persie said: "Maybe. I don't know."
Van Gaal suggested in February that Van Persie was not enjoying life under David Moyes at Old Trafford but the striker is delighted with the new United boss' approach.
"Every training session is really intense," he said. "The coach is onto you every second. If you start flagging for even a moment, you'll get to hear about it. He's very direct with everyone, myself included.
"We don't do training sessions for two-and-a-half hours - they're usually an hour and 15 minutes or so - but they are incredibly intense. Everyone gets better. Every day, I see the level of all players improving."