What a spectacular result for Holland in their first match of the World Cup. Spain did not know what hit them! Who amongst us can truly say they actually anticipated such a dominant thrashing of the Spanish. We knew they were not the same team that won the World Cup four years ago, however we expected them to (at the very least) be dangerous. When Spain scored first many observers thought they would hold on and perhaps win the match but few of us saw such a comeback by the Dutch. A 5 -1 win for Van Gaal over the current World Cup holders will have every Manchester United fan drooling into their pint glasses.
Some will argue that tournament football is very different from league competition and whilst they might be right Van Gaal knows that better than anyone. His record in league, cup and tournament football is outstanding.
But what we can we expect when he comes to United? Well, firstly, his Dutch national team have been aggressive, hardworking and creative. Robin Van Persie has been instrumental in his system of play and he clearly knows how to get the best out of his number 9.
United fans like to see active play on the ball and too often David Moyes was very passive when United had the ball, preferring to consolidate and build play. Many top flight teams will be happy for you to keep the ball in your own area, possession of the ball does not guarantee winning the game. As they say, it not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts. Teams managed by the enigmatic Dutchman do like to keep the ball on the ground and play into space but the key aspect of Van Gaals footballing philosophy is to counter attack effectively and quickly.
So, for the United fans who grew tired of David Moyes slow, patient build up play which ultimately fell apart in the final third of the pitch… the future looks bright, in fact the future looks orange.
If Van Gaal brings the same footballing philosophy to Manchester United then the fans can look forward to some really exciting football. But a note of caution, whilst United can be optimist with the impending arrival of Van Gaal to steady the footballing ship, so to speak, we all know what sky high ambition can do to even the best managers.
Historically, you just need to look at what happened at Liverpool in 2011/2. Kenny Dalglish was appointed manager (after Roy Hodgson was dismissed) to much fanfare from the media and fans alike. Apparently the messiah had returned and so the good times would follow at Liverpool. It never works out like that in football, he was unceremoniously dismissed (the very day the man he replaced was being named England Manager) and his own successor was the young and highly thought of Brendan Rodgers, who had a very difficult first season in charge before Liverpool’s eventual revival became evident.
So, whilst United can look forward to some exciting football and Robin Van Persie being used to his full capabilities all observes of the game need to give Van Gaal the time to stamp his authority on the team. This is not his United team, instead it is a combination of Alex Fergusons league winners and David Moyes’ also rans. As such, the fans really need to give Van Gaal the time to turn this into his own team and that will not happen overnight, however, when it does happen we can be sure of one thing… Manchester United will challenge for the league title once again.
From his time in Spain we can see that Van Gaal is a savvy dealer in the transfer market and does not just wave an almighty check book at clubs to get the best players. He can work with and develop talent himself and seeing the England squad for the World Cup this can only be a good thing for our emerging talent.
Personally, whilst I love the World Cup I can’t wait for it to be over so that Van Gaal is in the Manchester United’s mangers office and getting on with his day job. Everything that was wrong with David Moyes’ appointment looks to be resolved with the appointment of the experienced Dutchman and exciting times do look to have returned to Old Trafford.