Guardian Interview - Louis van Gaal: ‘I thought Manchester United could buy every player'

Cantonaaa!

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I'm probably one of the few who still likes him. Brutally honest, stuck to his philosophy, let down by poor recruitment.
Think a lot of fans liked him tbh. As others have stated, would take him back in a heartbeat.
Problem then, was we though things would get better if we sacked him, if only we knew.
 

hn4manunited

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What we should have done was hire LVG as our director of football and Jose as the manager. That would cover long term and short term. Jose focused on winning and LVG worry about building in parallel.
 

Bastian

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@Suedesi thanks for bumping this. This is so spot on from Louis. I didn't remember reading about the recruitment and that he didn't actually want di Maria. I wonder what players that have been bought post SAF have been asked for by the managers and what players have just been picked out by Woodward and Judge.
 

izec

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So many here didn't realise how bad our structure was when we fired LvG. I think many still believed in the "we only need the get the manager right and we'll be back on top in no time". LvG got the best out of his players and tried to build something but there just wasn't enough time. That's the difference between top top managers like Louis van Gaal and Mourinho and inexperienced managers like Ole, even with a (below) average squad they managed to be good enough to beat Liverpool, make CL or finish second. With Ole we end up 2 points above relegation.
yes. Thats why Ole needs to be sacked. He is the wrong guy to be given time and patience. If you are clueless, we cant wait years for him to get to a decent level. But year after year, the expectations are lowered.

Of course things have to be improved behind the scenes and structurally as well, but a better manager makes you better now and in the future, especially someone that knows what is wrong, is experienced/worked at big clubs and how we can improve, also has the hunger to implement something that lasts.
 

VeevaVee

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What we should have done was hire LVG as our director of football and Jose as the manager. That would cover long term and short term. Jose focused on winning and LVG worry about building in parallel.
Sounds like a recipe for stabbing my eyes out
 

Revaulx

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@Suedesi thanks for bumping this. This is so spot on from Louis. I didn't remember reading about the recruitment and that he didn't actually want di Maria. I wonder what players that have been bought post SAF have been asked for by the managers and what players have just been picked out by Woodward and Judge.
I think a lot of our signings are just picked out by the players’ agents and “suggested” to Woodward and Judge.
 

izec

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van Gaal and Jose wouldnt work, both different philosophies and stubborn and power hungry. Van Gaal as a more reserved director with a young, modern and talented manager could have worked.
 

Bastian

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I think a lot of our signings are just picked out by the players’ agents and “suggested” to Woodward and Judge.
Yeah, that's my hunch too, but since Jose has probably got an nda clause in effect, we won't know. I'd like to know who chose Lindelof, Bailly, Sanchez, Fred, Lukaku, di Maria, Falcao, Rojo, Darmian, Shaw, Mata. And whether any manager wanted to shift Smalling/Jones/Young but wasn't allowed.

All I know is that all the contracts are on the board, Louis and Jose both said they don't come near the contract negotiations, Ole I think as well. So the average wage of 160K is down to the commercial genius of Woodward.
 

ReddBalls

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I think a lot of our signings are just picked out by the players’ agents and “suggested” to Woodward and Judge.
Yep, would seem so. Doing transfers the same way a mall or a small fair book musical artists.
 

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It was the right decision letting him go, even though you could tell his style of play, the football was dire, the way we let him go was an absolute disgrace.

For those who would have him back, don't forget this is the guy that played Young as a ST and Januzaj as a LWB during his time as manager. You could tell he'd lost the dressing room and who could forget the 'my captain shall always play' outburst, Rooney was stinking the place up and the majority wanted him gone, instead he played most of the season. So let's not pretend his decision making was top notch.
 

UnofficialDevil

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I'm not anti Scottish, I just wanted Moyes out.
What does it take to be a perfect technical director or director of football?

First of all you need knowledge of the game, methods of training, preparation experience, youth education, scouting and you have to think in structures. So you need a lot of experience in the football world. When you are in your profession as a technical director, you have developed a name, then you have a big network and you can always make use of that network.
And to think some want Ole as DOF..
 

edcunited1878

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So many here didn't realise how bad our structure was when we fired LvG. I think many still believed in the "we only need the get the manager right and we'll be back on top in no time". LvG got the best out of his players and tried to build something but there just wasn't enough time. That's the difference between top top managers like Louis van Gaal and Mourinho and inexperienced managers like Ole, even with a (below) average squad they managed to be good enough to beat Liverpool, make CL or finish second. With Ole we end up 2 points above relegation.
I think that's fair re: LVG and Jose. One thing too is that LVG and Mourinho had senior players who could cope with the mental and emotional rigors. They didn't need protecting. But with Ole, the squad is low on quality but it's also low(er) on experience and know-how. The situation is compounded by a lack of core, senior outfield players who you couldn't question. You couldn't question Zlatan even at age 35 or whatever. Couldn't question Bryan Robson when United's were average to good but not great. Couldn't question Valencia, Rooney, Carrick or RVP. Sure they were older and not as good, but you could look up to them and know they'll give you some type protection and know-how.
 

Lee565

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The football was far from exciting under him and I dont think anyone here was thrilled with his persistence of starting Rooney but I did appreciate how he was trying to make the players better technically and tactically.

He made having a small ball playing centre back work which I dont think we have really seen happen at any club in the premier league including man city under pep.

The huge mistake the club made was allowing van Gaal to clear out so many players and refreshing the squad with his players, only to then sack him even though the season was far from a disaster and looking back over the past 4 seasons since he left, are we in a better place? Some will say he brought a lot of deadwood to the team, which I would mostly disagree with but at least it wasnt stupidly expensive deadwood. It was a farce by woodward to sanction the signing of a young forward for 64 million in martial because he was one for the future that Giggs picked out as he was being groomed to be the next manager and then a season you bring in Mourinho who was never going to have the patience to nurture a player like martial.

We would be in a far stable position and actual identity on the pitch had we kept patience with him over the last 4 season, at least he had something to back up being patient with him rather than this now stupid found patience with the worst and most inexperienced manager of them all in Solskjear, the club is atrocious with decision making and you would think all these years of Woodward being here he would have gained some wise experience but no, he still thick as a plank of wood when it comes to footballing decisions which is scary for the future of this club.
 

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His legacy from the short time with Bayern is truly outstanding and I always admired his passion and honesty. Incredible coach and great mind. Like ourselves, you were wrong in not supporting him.
 

Tincanalley

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I think you have to change the structure in the organisation of Manchester United because now I think the balance between the football department and commercial department is not right and even slopes over to the commercial.
LVG knew this from day one. Jose knew it. Our opponents know it. TV pundits know it. The dogs in the street know it. Glazers out, out, out, of this great club.
 

Sir Scott McToMinay

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His legacy from the short time with Bayern is truly outstanding and I always admired his passion and honesty. Incredible coach and great mind. Like ourselves, you were wrong in not supporting him.
You think Bayern were wrong in not supporting Van Gaal when you’re got heynckes winning you the treble?
C’mon now.
 

Blackwidow

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You think Bayern were wrong in not supporting Van Gaal when you’re got heynckes winning you the treble?
C’mon now.
It was van Gaal who changed the structures how our team played. And pulled together the main structure and players that later one went to win the treble. Heynckes then just tweaked it and did not build anything new. But at the same time he had the right hand for the players.

(maybe you should add that it was Heynckes who suggested van Gaal as coach for Bayern when he came out of retirement and was the interim coach for 2 months in 08/09 when Klinsmann flopped. Heynckes then tasted blood again and coached Leverkusen for 2 years until coming back to Bayern)
 

sullydnl

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One imagines that if Moyes and Mourinho were to dissect the problems here as candidly you'd hear similar complaints. It's no secret that our problems come directly from what's going on behind the scenes.
 

momo83

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We should have built on lvg' platform, not rip it up. But what will NEVER be forgotten is the way we dismantled the scousers at Anfield. It was the BEST ever performance, in my life time , against Lfc at Anfield.
Exactly. I remember beating both Liverpool and City by 4 goals was probably our two best post SAF matches. He could very well have been the man that laid the ground work for a new era and style of playing that would have made it much easier for subsequent, appropriate, managers.
 

Rhyme Animal

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Got much Love for the man - brought us our first proper trophy after Fergie and implemented a proper technical philosophy.

Beat City and Liverpool multiple times - should've become our DoF.
 

R'hllor

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Wasnt he a DoF at Ajax or something and there was some clash with Koeman or i just made that up.
 

amolbhatia50k

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He is as my personal favourite of the post SAF. First and foremost, I found him interesting as a man. He had a certain charm to him despite often being a stubborn git. The rest of the time I thought he had a charming honesty although he never crossed the line to disrespect the club or players. Felt like one of us more than the other managers.

I also feel he hugely improved our defence. There's a world of difference in the organisation of our defence between Moyes and LVG. With Smalling, Blind and co we started defending for our lives with a real tenacity. He brought that for sure.

And then he no doubt improved the quality of our possession. While we often looked unable to genuinely hurt we tended to know how to keep the ball. We should have built on this and instead went on the opposite direction and now have undone even this good work.

However I find the "they weren't my signings" a bit much. It sounds more like he didn't get the Neymar type players he wanted but then most managers don't. The likes of Memphis, Schweinsteiger and co were still his signings. Even if we didn't always give him his no 1 target, he did a terrible job in the transfer market which was his undoing.

Finally, he is spot on about Ole. He was spot on about the appointment and about his comments on how Ole does not play attacking football. We couldn't see it at the time but he was bang on the money. Despite lacking quality in attack, under LVG we played more attacking football because we were brave enough to always try to dominate possession. We played on the front foot (just without the ability to deliver in attack).
 
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amolbhatia50k

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Got much Love for the man - brought us our first proper trophy after Fergie and implemented a proper technical philosophy.

Beat City and Liverpool multiple times - should've become our DoF.
We should have followed him up with a manager like Tuchel or somebody who excels with teams that play well on the ball. That was the cock up IMO despite the Europa and SECOND PLACE finish
 

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I'd take him or Wenger. We all know the problems go far beyond the manager. Having LVG or Wenger we'd know the coach is doing all a coach can and therefore i can stikc behind that. With Ole he doesnt know how to coach unfortunately so out pathetic board is being shown up even more so
 

Nucks

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Sounds like a recipe for stabbing my eyes out
The problem is, you're judging them by the performances they had the squad deliver, based on those squads. Both men recognized how absolutely dire the squad was, and elected for methods of play that would minimize the ability for other teams to punish us. LVG by playing keep away, and only attacking when it seemed to be an absolutely clear cut chance, and Mourinho playing his more pragmatic brand of football.

However, both managers when possessing, non-shite teams, have been attacking. LvG had an all guns blazing Netherlands squad that did very well in 2014, and Mourinho torched la liga with his Ronaldo powered Real Madrid squad.

Meanwhile, OGS has come in, said "UNITED WAY", and while "throwing caution to the wind", has managed a shotless game, games with 1 shot, 30ish% possession.

Stop holding the fact that the squad is and has been a mess against these guys who actually managed to achieve some things with it. At least with possession, the other team can't score!
 

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I dunno if anybody else has said this, and I don’t care to look through the thread, but after reading this interview again, this statement is ringing more true by the week:
we had a big lack of creative players. That’s why we played that, in your eyes, “boring football”. We did not have too many creative players to increase the tempo of the ball and to use more vertical passes.
 

hn4manunited

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I dunno if anybody else has said this, and I don’t care to look through the thread, but after reading this interview again, this statement is ringing more true by the week:
and these are seasoned managers who knew the challenges they were facing but appeared to not be able to address them. If they were allowed to buy the players they needed, they could solve the problems they knew existed.
 

I Am Zlatan

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I dunno if anybody else has said this, and I don’t care to look through the thread, but after reading this interview again, this statement is ringing more true by the week:
also shows how unaware many of us are here and quick to make assumptions on things we do not know much about, compared to actual world class managers, and what they see behind the scenes.
 

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I think we would be in a much better place now had we stuck with LVG and let him build upon his vision more. We could actually control games and compete with everyone, I know many found that boring but I liked that feeling of dominating possession. With the likes of Pogba and a stronger back line being added under LVG and his coaching of players like Martial, Rashford and Pogba we would surely have improved our attacking play and I think we'd comfortably be 3rd best in the league at least with realistic hopes of challenging in the next few years.

Of course hindsight is 20/20 though. I'm not saying it was the wrong decision at the time, but I'd snap your hand off to go back and change it. He's easily my favourite of the bunch (as manager) we've had since SAF retired.
 

NinjaZombie

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Interesting that he said Rooney was over the hill, yet it wasn’t until Mourinho came in that he was moved on. LVG’s insistence on sticking with Rooney was one the most frustrating aspects of his tenure. And it’s even more frustrating now knowing that LVG knew he was finished yet stuck with him.
This.

I didn't mind Van Gaal. If only he found a way for us to not be mind numbingly dull. Juanfield was one of the best Anfield performances I'd ever seen.
 

ThierryHenry14

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"You haven’t mentioned Wayne Rooney. Was he too old by then?

I’m sorry but he was over the hill. But in spite of that he was one of my best players."

I am sure if LVG has Ibra, Suarez, or Sanchez in the team at the time he will ship out Rooney right away. He said it already with the players he had he had to alter his system and he didn't have the right players to carry out the attack he wanted. Anyway it is all history. Now it is either sack OGS and start all over again, or support him and give him 2 to 3 more transfer window to turn it around.
 

VeevaVee

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The problem is, you're judging them by the performances they had the squad deliver, based on those squads. Both men recognized how absolutely dire the squad was, and elected for methods of play that would minimize the ability for other teams to punish us. LVG by playing keep away, and only attacking when it seemed to be an absolutely clear cut chance, and Mourinho playing his more pragmatic brand of football.

However, both managers when possessing, non-shite teams, have been attacking. LvG had an all guns blazing Netherlands squad that did very well in 2014, and Mourinho torched la liga with his Ronaldo powered Real Madrid squad.

Meanwhile, OGS has come in, said "UNITED WAY", and while "throwing caution to the wind", has managed a shotless game, games with 1 shot, 30ish% possession.

Stop holding the fact that the squad is and has been a mess against these guys who actually managed to achieve some things with it. At least with possession, the other team can't score!
Not convinced they couldn’t have got similar results by actually playing some football and giving us something to watch. It’s not like we played it safe so well every time. We were often hanging on for dear life.
 

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"You haven’t mentioned Wayne Rooney. Was he too old by then?

I’m sorry but he was over the hill. But in spite of that he was one of my best players."

I am sure if LVG has Ibra, Suarez, or Sanchez in the team at the time he will ship out Rooney right away. He said it already with the players he had he had to alter his system and he didn't have the right players to carry out the attack he wanted. Anyway it is all history. Now it is either sack OGS and start all over again, or support him and give him 2 to 3 more transfer window to turn it around.
He also said that he thought United could buy any player which has never been remotely close to being true. He knows that.

There were also players that supposedly wouldn't sign for us because he was manager, given his reputation for micromanaging and having a headteacher demeanour.
 

Micky Targaryen

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What we should have done was hire LVG as our director of football and Jose as the manager. That would cover long term and short term. Jose focused on winning and LVG worry about building in parallel.
Scenario 1: LVG as DOF and Mourinho as manager

Scenario 2: Ole as DOF and Moyes as manager

Which scenario would kill you faster? :wenger:
 

Raw

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His football was boring, his transfers didn't work and we always looked very vulnerable to counter attacks. But LVG was the only manager post Fergie where we had some sort of identity and I'll always respect him for that. Plus he was a funny fecker off the pitch and so much more likeable than Mourinho's sour attitude or Moyes/Ole's deer in headlights look. Annoys me how poorly we treated him when he got sacked, he deserved better. I also remember the players moaning about his methods being too strict. Feck 'em. They've had it far too easy since.

If we had any sort of footballing structure above him he would have done better and it would have built foundations for a similar minded manager to succeed from. Instead we went backwards by appointing Mourinho so we can get instant success and we've regretted it since.
 

Neil_Buchanan

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I really liked Van Gaal, he gets a ridiculous amount of stick on here. Good to know that I'm not the only one.

Let down massively by poor recruitment. If a few of those signings (Falcao, Dimaria) had worked out the momentum could have us challenging for the title right now.

One reason that I could never see Lukaku making it here is no matter how well he played I could never forget that time Daley Blind put him in his back pocket for 90 minutes. One hell of a good tactical manager.
 
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sugar_kane

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Massive revisionism going on for Mourinho and Van Gaal right now.

Unsurprising given the situation, but the fans turned en masse against these two for good reason.

Still can’t believe how much that Leicester game theory gets peddle around - we were shite before that as well.
 

Kush

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And to think some want Ole as DOF..
Or Fletcher or Rio...

Sentimentality and nepotism has already set us years behind other clubs. If this continues, lord knows how many years of suffering it would take to get back anywhere near the team we once were.

Massive revisionism going on for Mourinho and Van Gaal right now.

Unsurprising given the situation, but the fans turned en masse against these two for good reason.
Par for course on CAF.