• Premier League

Van Gaal puts players in their place

ESPN staff
July 23, 2014
US tour could harm United's prospects

It may not have been quite as startling as Jose Mourinho's "Special One" entrance to English football, but the Portuguese's former mentor has wasted little time making an impression in the Premier League.

Louis van Gaal, fresh from taking a dig at Manchester United's indefatigable commercial activity and revealing his temper to a few of his players at training, has put his squad well and truly in its place.

"The staff are more important than the players," the Dutchman told club channel MUTV. "It's unfortunate for the players that I say that but you have to implement a philosophy and therefore you need staff who can give me the confidence that they're doing the things I require."

Cash to burn

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Van Gaal's self-glorification came amid a tribute to the start Ryan Giggs has made to his coaching career in the new regime. It was also a follow-up to his claim that he would not decide upon which players he would keep until he had seen how they adapted to his playing philosophy.

It is a far cry from the approach taken by many of his peers, some of whom - Harry Redknapp, for example - claim the players not the staff are what a club's success turns on.

However, Van Gaal claims his squad are working hard for him already and is pleased that they are following the instructions of assistant manager Giggs and the rest of his staff. The manager is not sure they are all coping with the amount of training he expects them do, though.

"When I see them doing the exercises that I and my staff require, they respond very well and they're disciplined, and I like that because we need discipline on the pitch when we play a match," the Dutchman said.

"It might not be what they're used to but double sessions are normal for me. I have the impression that, for some players, it's very difficult.

"We have different players now because we have played with non-World Cup players for two weeks and now we have the World Cup players, from England for example. They have to adapt to the level of what is required now."

Van Gaal has joined United with a reputation for straight talking and has praised the staff who are so important to him. "I'm very pleased with him [Giggs]," Van Gaal said. "I talked with him before I signed. Your first impression is always important and that was very good. Now the impression is improving because I know him better.

"He's working very hard, as are all my assistants. It's important that they don't have a job that's 9-5. You have to work very hard when you're my assistant - it's not always a pleasant job. But he's doing very well and I'm happy he's on my staff.

"I always pick up trainer-coaches from the last season; at Barcelona I did that Jose Mourinho, at Bayern I did it with Hermann Gerland and now it's He knows everybody, he knows the culture better than anyone working at Manchester United, I believe, so I'm very pleased he is in my staff."

Van Gaal revealed his temper at training during United's US tour © Getty Images
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