In the short time that he has been Manchester United’s manager, I must admit that Louis Van Gaal has been very impressive.
He has completed the Red Devils’ pre-season tour in the United States unbeaten, and capped it off with a 3-1 win against Liverpool in the final of the pre-season International Champions Cup – to bring his first trophy to Manchester United.
Appears to already have restored Manchester United’s aura
And Van Gaal already appears to have been able to restore the aura, the air of confidence and the strong sense of direction that Manchester United used to possess during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at the club.
For example, his confidence and belief in both himself and for the club is so sky-high that he turned up in a bright blue suit at United’s Carrington training ground on his first day there – and nobody had dared to question his dress sense. Would David Moyes have had such guts? Probably not, I would say.
Has the credentials to see success at United
Van Gaal definitely has the credentials too, to achieve the success at United that his predecessor David Moyes had spectacularly failed to do.
For example, he thrived and made his name at Dutch giants Ajax – and went on to see similar success during his first spell at Spanish club Barcelona as well as at Germany’s Bayern Munich – before guiding his country’s national team to third position at the recent Fifa World Cup this year.
Now, he is in England for the first time, and is taking over the reigns of the former No 1 club in the country.
This Messiah will not make instant waves in the Premier League
But with the Premier League season a week away, can Van Gaal pick up where he left off, and finish his first season on a high with the Red Devils – after last season’s barren drought left them without Champions League football for the first time in years?
Van Gaal may be seen as a messiah for the fallen Red Devils. But I definitely do not see United as making instant waves in the English Premier League and going on to see success – definitely not during the new manager’s first season anyway.
Plenty of reshuffling must take place
That’s because he still has plenty to do, if United are to become successful and embark on another era of dominance. Manchester United is a broken team and their existing players are nowhere like the world-class squad that he had inherited at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
So Van Gaal will have to do a lot of reshuffling in order for the club to see success. The team that he has inherited is no longer the No 1 team in England – in my opinion. Some players are rather mediocre, as we saw in David Moyes’ reign, and they have clearly lost their sense of belief. So achieving success will most definitely take time.
As well, the new signings will also have to gel effectively together with the existing players and they cannot be expected to suddenly become a winning team immediately.
Only time will tell as to whether he can bring success to United during his reign at the English club.
Van Gaal has had his share of failure
Also, despite his apparent aura, Van Gaal does not always have the Midas touch. In his managerial career, we have seen his fair share of failures too.
For example, he completely flopped during his second spell at Barcelona in the 2002 to 2003 season, where the club was lying 13th in the table after 14 matches. He was subsequently sacked in January and Barcelona eventually finished that season in sixth spot.
Only time will eventually tell
Will his spell at United end up just like his second spell at Barcelona? Are the expectations of him too great for him to shoulder? Or will he be given ample time to achieve success at the Manchester club?
We shall see what happens come the end of the season. For the English Premier League is a completely different kettle of fish, compared to anything that Van Gaal has probably experienced in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.