• Premier League

'Intense' Van Gaal will get the best out of United

ESPN staff
October 24, 2014
The ESPN FC panel discusses Louis van Gaal's claim that Manchester United can still win the title

Arjen Robben says Louis van Gaal is the right man to turn Manchester United's fortunes around following a difficult transition period since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

United slumped to seventh in the Premier League under Ferguson's successor David Moyes, who lasted just nine months in the job, and Robben is confident Van Gaal can bring the good times back to Old Trafford.

"He is the right man for United, definitely," said Robben, who played under Van Gaal for four years with Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national team. "That is what I will always say.

'Van Gaal and Mourinho demand the same'

Louis van Gaal guided the Netherlands to third in the summer's World Cup © Getty Images
  • Arjen Robben says Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho are very similar in management style.
  • "They are both very demanding, really intense, and what they ask from their players is the same kind of intensity," Robben said.
  • "They are the same in the way they prepare things, the way they live and breathe football and tactics, every second of the day almost."
  • Robben also believes Mourinho can be the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs, calling his former Chelsea boss "the special one for special games".
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"In the beginning, when it wasn't going so well for him at United, people were asking me about it, but I will always tell them to have confidence in him.

"It will come, it just needs time. He has brought a lot of new players in, so he needs time to build, but he can really build a team.

"We have seen the perfect example of that here at Bayern, with what he did at this club. It is also shown with the national team, the steps he made to take us to third place in the World Cup and that wasn't normal.

"It was a unique performance for Holland, but with United, he needs time. I like him, I am a fan of him and I know what he can do."

Robben, one of Van Gaal's first signings when he left AZ Alkmaar to take over at the Allianz Arena, said the 63-year-old's "intensity" is what sees him succeed as a manager.

He added: "Van Gaal is the kind of guy who can really make individual players better. It was the most important step of my career to go from Real Madrid to Bayern. It was the best move of my career, coming here and working under him. It really gave me a lot of confidence and a new way of working.

"You know his style, but the way he trains players means you have to adapt initially. Maybe that is why people are adapting in Manchester now, because the intensity is very high and you have to get used to it. But it was good for me because I got stronger, I got fit, and that was very important for my game."

Robben almost signed for Manchester United in 2004, having been given a personal guided tour of the club by Ferguson, but chose Chelsea instead. But he does not regret the decision.

"If you look at the prizes I won with Chelsea, that says everything you need to say," Robben told The Telegraph. "I made the right decision, to work with a great manager like [Jose] Mourinho, and I made a big step there, developed myself as a player and won two leagues in three years, two League Cups and an FA Cup. It all worked out, you know? I am very happy with how things went and at Bayern, it is the best team, for sure, that I have played with.

"If you see me again in three years in the Premier League, then who knows, but at the moment, there is not even one per cent of me thinking about going to England or anywhere."

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