Sunday 11 December 2016

Sir Alex Ferguson backs Louis van Gaal to succeed at Manchester United

Published 22/09/2015 | 09:50

Louis van Gaal took over at Old Trafford last year
Louis van Gaal took over at Old Trafford last year

Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced Louis van Gaal will be a success at Manchester United.

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United have gone through a whirlwind period since Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season.

His successor David Moyes was sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract and United ended the campaign seventh in the table.

But Ferguson believes the club is in good hands under Van Gaal, who finished fourth last season and has taken his team to second in the Premier League so far this term.

"He's got the pedigree," the former United manager told Sky Sports News.

"He's got good experience. He knows how to handle these things. It's going to take time.

"Taking over from myself it's going to take time to get his team on the pitch."

Like Ferguson, Van Gaal is often a prickly figure when it comes to his weekly press conferences.

The Scot, writing in his book 'Leading', which came out on Tuesday, speaks about the importance of dominating his weekly press briefings.

And he is a fan of how Van Gaal picks his battles with members of the press at Carrington every week.

"I love his press conferences, I mean they are brilliant," Ferguson said.

"Press guys twitching in their seats as he answers some of their questions. He's got the confidence to deal with that."

Asked to reflect on the non-United players he admired most during his 26-year career at Old Trafford, Ferguson picked out former Chelsea forward Gianfranco Zola, ex-Arsenal captain Tony Adams and former Liverpool skipper Jamie Carragher, who is now a pundit for Sky.

"Tony Adams and Jamie Carragher weren't the most talented players." Ferguson said.

"They weren't going to carve out defenders, weren't the quickest. But the desire and determination, they were always going to be winners, always influenced their teams."

Despite being either side of English football's most bitter rivalry, Ferguson is full of admiration for Carragher, who played 737 times for the Reds during his one-club career.

The former United boss believes the former Liverpool captain is destined for a career in management.

"I think he's got a career. He's also in television but he'd make a good manager. He's got the material," Ferguson added.

Adams was another player Ferguson admired greatly. He tried to sign the former Gunners skipper when he was coming through the ranks at the north London club, but found the pursuit a thankless task.

"I think Tony Adams was a United player in an Arsenal shirt to be honest with you," Ferguson said.

"I thought he'd be absolutely perfect for United. I tried a little bit when he was 19, in the reserves, but no chance.

"Those two (Adams and Carragher) are examples of how far you can go in the game when you have the inner determination and desire to be successful and you see the careers they had, marvellous."

On Zola, the former Chelsea forward whose trickery mesmerized Premier League defenders for seven years at the turn of the century, Ferguson said: "He annoyed me. He was one of those players who was unperturbed about who he was playing against.

"You always see a smile on his face, and that annoyed me.

"I said 'how can he be enjoying himself playing against United?'. Nobody else does.

"But he was a fantastic player. I love watching him. He was an enjoyable player. For me to say that about an opponent tells how much I admire him."

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