• Premier League

Van Gaal stands by tough stance

ESPN staff
June 3, 2014
Cesc Fabregas to Manchester United?

Louis van Gaal has indicated that he will not change his approach to management to accommodate Manchester United's stars.

The incoming manager has a reputation for being a confrontational leader and, although he insists that he likes to maintain close relationships with his players, he has made it clear it is his way or the highway.

"I am a coach who wants a good relationship with my players, I think it is very important," Van Gaal, in Amsterdam preparing for the World Cup with the Netherlands, said.

Van Gaal 'very close' to taking Spurs job

Louis van Gaal: I was a Spurs fan © Getty Images
  • Louis van Gaal has admitted he nearly took over at Tottenham before opting to become Manchester United's next manager.
  • Van Gaal again avoided questions about his upcoming job at Old Trafford, but he did admit he came "very close" to agreeing a switch to White Hart Lane, after revealing he was a Spurs fan in his youth.
  • "It was very close, very close," said Van Gaal. "As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion. Jimmy Greaves was my idol. They had fantastic white shirts. So I was very close."

"I do everything to reach that level, but sometimes it is not reachable as the players are not open-minded and don't adapt to the norms that I put in the team.

"When you are not listening, always out, or I go out."

Aside from the need to overhaul his United squad, Van Gaal must decide on his new captain - with Robin van Persie likely to get the nod as he fulfills the same role for the Netherlands.

That may not sit well with Wayne Rooney, who signed a new £300,000-a-week deal in February and was set to take the armband from the departed Nemanja Vidic next season until David Moyes was sacked in April.

Rooney's status as United's main man is now under threat with a place in the side not even guaranteed. He has made it clear he would like to be captain, but said he would be able to handle being rejected for the role by Van Gaal.

Danny Welbeck could also be on a collision course with the Dutchman, as he is believed to be frustrated by his failure to establish himself as a central figure in the Old Trafford attack.

Several players who have worked under Van Gaal - who will take over at United when his commitments at this summer's World Cup come to an end - have suggested he can be difficult to get along with.

Van Gaal even namechecked the likes of Franck Ribery and Rivaldo among those who have fallen foul of him and admitted that not every player tends to take to his style of management.

"Most of the players say lovely things about me," he added. "There are also players who are very angry with me - Franck Ribery, Luca Toni, Hristo Stoichkov and Rivaldo."

Louis van Gaal will take over at Manchester United once his commitments with the Netherlands at the World Cup come to an end © Getty Images

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