Saturday 20 January 2018

Five issues facing Louis Van Gaal on his first day

Van Gaal with Ryan Giggs and Ed Woodward today
Van Gaal with Ryan Giggs and Ed Woodward today

Louis van Gaal began life as Manchester United manager this morning and he has plenty of work ahead to restore the fortunes of the club.

Van Gaal opted against taking a holiday after the World Cup and will instead throw himself into United life, meeting those players who are not on a post World Cup break as well as club staff.

The 62-year-old, United's first manager from outside the British Isles, will have no time to ease himself in. On Thursday he will be officially presented at a press conference before jetting off to the USA on Friday for the club's pre-season tour.

Here are five issues facing the Dutchman


An obvious point and a good start in this area has been made. Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw are already onboard, but defence and midfield will need further recruitment if United are to stand any chance of competing on all fronts. Arturo Vidal and Thomas Vermaelen are tipped to join, along with half the Dutch side, and Van Gaal need only reflect on his predecessor to understand the serious consequences of failure in the transfer market

Class of 92

Ryan Giggs will be stationed beside Van Gaal in the dugout, but the futures of Nicky Butt and Phil Neville remain unclear, while Paul Scholes too had been mooted for a return to a coaching role.

By either bringing them onboard, or deciding against the United legends, Van Gaal will make a significant statement

Restore confidence

The image of Robin Van Persie embracing his manager during the World Cup will have been widely received by United supporters. Last year the breakdown between David Moyes and members of the playing squad was obvious, with a string of poor results compounding this.

Van Gaal should instantly command the respect of his players and should, in theory, restore confidence.

Rooney approach

While Wayne Rooney was arguably one of the club’s better performers last season, that particular accolade (David De Gea aside) would not have been overly difficult to win.

It is a number of years since the former Everton wonder kid put in a consistent season, with injuries and loss of form contributing to a below-par Rooney.

If Van Gaal can work his magic, it can only help the Red Devils improve on last year’s seventh position.


Among the many problems at Old Trafford last season was the confusion over the best strategy and personnel to employ. Injuries didn’t help matters, but defensive partnerships, where to get the best out of Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata and maximising the strike force options need to be ironed out to avoid a repeat of the last campaign.

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