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Thursday 18 September 2014

David Ginola: Jose Mourinho's jibe is a sign that Louis Van Gaal is a big threat

Premier League legend Ginola believes United will be tougher proposition under Dutch maestro after 'poor decisions' of Moyes reign

Garry Doyle

Published 07/08/2014 | 02:30

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David Ginola in Dublin to launch Setanta Sports' coverage of the forthcoming Barclays Premier League season. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
David Ginola in Dublin to launch Setanta Sports' coverage of the forthcoming Barclays Premier League season. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

David Ginola firmly believes Louis van Gaal can succeed where David Moyes failed by handling the egos inside the club and the external pressures that come with the territory of managing Manchester United.

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The former English PFA Player of the Year watched Moyes fall to pieces last season, overwhelmed by the strain of succeeding Alex Ferguson and living up to his predecessor's expectations, whereas Van Gaal arrives at Old Trafford having had success with Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Holland.

"Looking at it from the outside," said Ginola, "the players were not devoted to Moyes. They were not sticking with the plan. I played against Manchester United many times and they were always tough, not just because they were playing good football but because defensively they got the ball back quickly.

"Last year there were too many games at home where I didn't recognise the team. The players were not giving 100pc."

But that will change this season. "Look at the fact Jose Mourinho has already had a pop at Van Gaal," said Ginola. "It shows he means something that they want to annoy him. Will he be annoyed?

"If I was Louis van Gaal, with all the things he has won in his career, I would smile and look at it as a compliment, because you always try to put the stick on someone you think can do great things.

"Try to disturb a guy like him? I think he needs more than a few words from Jose Mourinho to be disturbed."

Yet in the spring of 1996, Ginola saw – first hand – how mind games can unsettle a manager, when his Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan choked during the run-in, effectively gifting the title to Manchester United.

"We saw a change in his behaviour," said Ginola. "On a daily basis in training he was nervous, a different guy. He started to realise that we could win the league – that HE could win the league. So when we started to lose, when the stick, the mind games with Ferguson started, he felt pressure.

"I think some of the decisions he made at the time were poor. He could have had better coaching in terms of sometimes the final minutes of the game. Think about the 4-3 defeat at Liverpool."

And yet while sticking to a policy of all-out attack cost Ginola as a player – as a pundit and as a fan, he loves English football's sense of adventure.

"Think about Crystal Palace-Liverpool last year. Palace scored three goals in 15 minutes.

"It's only in England that you see that. Nowhere else. So that makes the game in England more interesting.

"Around the world these days, managers are more cautious which is why in some countries it is a big problem watching football. That is not the case in England.

"In England, the attitude is, the opposition may score but we are going to get more goals. And what I liked about Liverpool last season was if they scored one, they didn't hold the ball and wait, they wanted to score a second and a third.

"You could see that the team was going forward all the time. This is the best way to defend. The best way to defend is to get the ball in the other half of the pitch."

  • David Ginola and David James were in Dublin yesterday to launch Setanta Sports' new €1 start-of-season offer. In total, 71 live Premier League games will be available on the Setanta Sports Pack in the 2014/2015 season.

Irish Independent

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