• Premier League

Van Gaal won't be overhelmed, says Giggs

ESPN staff
August 7, 2014
Will United will be in the title fight?

Ryan Giggs says Louis Van Gaal won't be overwhelmed at Manchester United after Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers suggested the Dutchman could be in for a rude awakening in the Premier League.

United capped off an unbeaten pre-season tour of America by seeing off Liverpool 3-1 in the final of the International Champions Cup on Monday.

Smalling: I can thrive in back three

Chris Smalling is a fan of Louis van Gaal's new system © Getty Images
  • Chris Smalling is confident he can flourish as a centre-back in Louis van Gaal's new three-man defence at Manchester United.
  • Smalling started three of United's five matches on their unbeaten pre-season tour of America, where they let in just one goal from open play.
  • "It's challenging but we've done a lot of work on it and I feel like we're making progress," Smalling said. "I am enjoying it in terms of being a centre-half. It gives us that freedom to go all the way in with a striker and really be dominant and aggressive, and I like to think that fits my game. This system has given me a lot of confidence to be able to fit in and hopefully make it my place.
  • "When we're attacking it can be a three and at other times it can be a five. There's always one pressing so you've got four covering and it does interchange. There's a lot of communication and we're doing a lot of work [in training] so that we're perfect in our roles.This formation means that when you go all the way in with an opponent, you can be stepping into midfield or picking someone up in a wide position. That flexibility is something you need to be able to play this system."

However, Rodgers then warned Van Gaal that the Premier League would provide a much tougher challenge than the domestic leagues in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany where he has enjoyed such success with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"He's not going to be overwhelmed," Giggs is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.

"Even the manager has realised how big this club is in the short space of time he has been here. The crowds for friendlies are 'unbelievable' in his words.

"He's managed at the top level for a long, long time and won't be intimidated or afraid of managing Manchester United."

Giggs, who ended his 22-year United playing career to be become assistant manager at Old Trafford, also revealed the players are responding well to Van Gaal's new methods, despite his reputation as a strict disciplinarian.

Van Gaal has introduced new rules on and off the pitch. The players now all eat together, with Van Gaal instructing the club to bring in round tables to replace the old square ones in the Carrington canteen.

"He's a great character. He is, first and foremost, a leader and demands respect, demands discipline and a real sort of detailed structure," Giggs added.

"But, within that structure, there is obviously freedom to move. It's been great. The players have really enjoyed it so far and I certainly have.

"Everything is structured and really detailed. The lads have all enjoyed all the things that have come that are a little bit different. Right down to meeting for breakfast, and for lunch, and even the team meetings that we have. Plus the training."

After returning home from America, Van Gaal will make his Old Trafford bow in a friendly against Valencia on August 12 before United kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea four days later.

Ryan Giggs says Manchester United's players are responding well to Louis van Gaal's methods © Getty Images
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