Sunday 17 December 2017

Van Gaal: Ferguson won't be a problem for me, we like each other

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, left, and former Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal speak after their Champions League quarter-final tie in 2010
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, left, and former Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal speak after their Champions League quarter-final tie in 2010

Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal has insisted he has no issues with Alex Ferguson's ongoing presence at Manchester United by claiming the former manager will not affect his focus on the job at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal, the Holland coach, will begin work at United following the end of Dutch involvement at the World Cup after being confirmed as the club's new manager on Monday.

Despite being appointed by United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, rather than hand-picked by Ferguson like his predecessor, David Moyes, Van Gaal accepts that Ferguson's role as a director will continue, 12 months after his retirement.

But while Ferguson's presence ultimately haunted Moyes, who was sacked after just 51 games in charge last month, Van Gaal insists is he comfortable working with the 72-year-old in the background.

"I don't think he (Ferguson) is the biggest problem," Van Gaal said. "I put more pressure on myself than others do.

"I'll undoubtedly have a drink with Ferguson. We've done that before and we like each other.

"But nobody can put more pressure on myself than I do, so I do not expect any problem with Ferguson."

TRAINING

Van Gaal, who flew to Portugal for a pre-World Cup training camp with the Dutch yesterday, insists he will work into his 70s like Ferguson, Bobby Robson and former Italy and Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni.

"In three years I'll be 65," Van Gaal said. "How old was Bobby Robson? In his 70s. Trapattoni is still active, but I can't see myself like that."

With Van Gaal admitting that his wife, Truus, will begin to search for a house in Manchester next week, the 62-year-old has ruled out becoming involved in transfer negotiations for new players at United this summer.

With the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach potentially involved with Holland in Brazil until the World Cup final on July 13, Van Gaal will leave all transfers to Woodward after insisting he has no desire to hold talks with players or agents.

"I say which players I want and which players can leave," Van Gaal said. "But they (United) have to negotiate. I've never interfered with transfers."

Meanwhile, United will re-allocate Ryan Giggs' No 11 shirt next season after ruling out the prospect of retiring the jersey.

Giggs, who made a record 963 senior appearances for United, announced his retirement on Monday in order to focus on his new role as assistant to Van Gaal.

But despite the tradition of some clubs to retire shirts when a star player has called time on his career, United are keen for the number 11 shirt to be taken by another member of the squad, with Adnan Januzaj potentially acquiring the number after wearing 44 in his debut season.

Meanwhile West Ham took the extraordinary step yesterday of publicly listing their demands and expectations of manager Sam Allardyce next season.

In what is a clear attempt to appease supporters, co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have insisted on "more entertainment" and outlined their minimum target of a top-10 finish.

Allardyce has also agreed to appoint a new attacking coach, overhaul the club's scouting operation and allow the club's directors more involvement in player recruitment.

Joe Cole and Ravel Morrison are both expected to leave Upton Park this summer, with Allardyce having watched Anderlecht's Cheikhou Kouyate and Standard Liege striker Michy Batshuayi. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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