• Premier League

Van Gaal faces rude awakening, says Rodgers

ESPN staff
August 6, 2014
Can United win the Premier League?

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Louis van Gaal the difficulties of his first Premier League season could shock him and the level of competition might be too much for Manchester United.

Van Gaal has had an impressive start to life at Old Trafford and joined the club having won league titles in three countries: the Dutch title with Ajax, La Liga with Barcelona and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

But while the Dutchman has so enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season with United, which has included a 3-1 victory against rivals Liverpool in the final of the International Champions Cup, Rodgers predicts his adversary will face a baptism of fire in England.

Van Gaal: I'm ready, Brendan

  • Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal accepted Brendan Rodgers' warning that he will find his first Premier League season tough but insisted that is why he joined the club.
  • Rodgers believes Van Gaal faces a far more competitive league than he's experienced elsewhere and, while the Dutchman admitted his rival could be right, he was quick to remind his counterpart of his previous successes.
  • "That's why I'm here," Van Gaal said.
  • "OK maybe he is right because I have to experience that, but I was also in Spain and in my first year I won three titles. In Germany I won two titles. If I win one here, we will all be happy."

Rodgers said: "What he'll find is the competition in this league will be different from any other league that he's worked in.

"In a lot of the other leagues, there are one or two teams and those are the teams that are expected to win. This is a league where the top team plays the bottom team and on any given day you can lose. You don't get that a lot in the other leagues.

"The competition will probably take him by surprise and that's from foreign managers I have spoken to over the years.

"I've worked closely with foreign players who have come in and that real physical competitive nature will be different from anywhere else he's worked before."

Van Gaal faces the tough task of revitalising a side that finished seventh in the Premier League last season, their lowest finish since 1990. However, Rodgers, who guided Liverpool to second place last term, knows United will be determined to reassert their supremacy.

"For them it will be a totally different mindset," Rodgers said. "Domestically for the last 20 years they've been champions 13 times.

"When I came to Liverpool we were eighth at the time and the club was nearly going out of business, so it's totally different.

"The players there will want to do better for themselves. They will be disappointed with where they finished last year, of course. With the quality they have, they will want to push on."

However, Rodgers urged Van Gaal to be wary of United's owners, the Glazer family, who sacked previous manager David Moyes in April, less than 10 months into a six-year contract.

"There were a lot of things at Manchester United that were not seen by many," Rodgers said. "He [Moyes] had to go in and where I felt for him is that he thought he was getting time.

"All of a sudden when it's not as hunky-dory as people think it is, you don't get that opportunity. He signed a long-term deal and thought he had that longevity to do his work."

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