Self-belief is not just for the Players

Despite the lowly league position you must give credit to Louis Van Gaal his self-confidence appears to be unshaken. Towards the end of his reign at Old Trafford David Moyes seemed to be bewildered and lacking in confidence, which was something Untied fans were not used to.

Van Gaal’s self-assured character will be an absolute asset to the players. Certainly, as a player, the last thing you want to see is your manager’s head drop when you are in the doldrums. Undoubtedly, Sir Alex Ferguson had self confidence in bucket loads. His self-belief rarely seemed to be shaken by anything that happened on the football pitch, remember when Eric Cantona flew in to a Crystal Palace player feet first!

Regardless of the results, Louis Van Gaal has shown himself to be an enigmatic figure, one who is brutally honest with his players and candid in his self-assessment. “If we lose then it is my fault” he stated after a recent defeat. That will surly give his player’s confidence that in defeat, in public at least, the manager seems to be taking the flak for a bad performance.

However, after Chris Smalling was shown the red card for a second foolish booking Van Gaal said of his team “they showed incredible willpower” to mount a late challenge with only ten men. Nevertheless, he was not afraid to publicly condemn his player for his actions which resulted in the sending off. In fact, he went on describe Smalling’s actions as both “Stupid” and “not so smart”.

The players will surely respond well to a manager who deflects poor results criticism away from them and has an unshakable self-confidence despite results to the contrary. Any manager who can drag his team through difficult times will surely be a success, if by sheer determination alone.

This is one issue that clubs need to consider when hiring new managers… self confidence. David Moyes had an outstanding reputation as a coach and worked well on a budget. However, at Manchester United there was no need to work on a budget, nor did they need an outstanding coach.

The club needed a tactician, a strategic leader and a negotiator. They had plenty of outstanding first team coaches on the staff and coaching players to be better players is not what the big clubs do. No, that is what small clubs do when they are on a budget… they work with and improve the players they already have. The big clubs buy players to improve the squad.

As such, I feel for David Moyes who, through no fault of his own, was out of his depth from day one and his confidence took a huge dent when results went south. Van Gaal on the other hand may have similar results this far into the season as Moyes did but his self-confidence is still there and his spirit is not yet broken. If he can weather the storm then I think Manchester United can recover, maybe not this year but next year and beyond.

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