Louis van Gaal: The legendary Dutch manager’s woes with Manchester United

Louis van Gaal has credentials that make for fantastic reading anywhere in the world. The Dutch physical education teacher and managerial myth has carved a niche for himself in the world of football management and it is the major reason he could still attract a job as lucrative and challenging as the one he is presently doing, despite his age.

Sought by Tottenham Hotpurs last summer, it was no surprise he chose Manchester United ahead of the North London outfit when the opportunity presented itself. No 63 year old man will pass on the chance to captain the Red Army ship. No one. Preseason was nothing short of blissful, but he was given a reality check by Swansea in the first home game of the season and since then, it has been up and down for the ex-Bsyern manager.

The travails and tribulations came to a head supposedly last Monday when the last attempt to end the mini trophy drought was ended by former Red, Danny Welbeck and Arsenal. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the club and supporters and many have called for an end to van Gaal’s reign.

However, I am not one of those who are calling for the manager’s head because in my opinion, he has worked wonders despite inhibitions which have come in form of injuries and lack of cohesion. It is a well known fact that United have suffered at least 50 injuries since August and to still be sitting comfortably in 4th position and having the 3rd best defensive record in the league after more than 12 central defensive partnerships is a miraculous return and should be praised rather than criticised.

The job became very demanding and difficult after the wretched and sorrowful season the club had last time with now Real Sociedad manager, David Moyes at the helm. But now, things have shaped up with the club in prime position to qualify for next season’s European cup tournament. Louis van Gaal and his team have had to deal with prolonged absences and suspensions which many will say are indeed part of the game but when you are a newbie learning the ropes, you are given a breather, irrespective of the resume you boast of.

Yesterday’s annihilation of Spurs, the bashing of Liverpool, the win at Arsenal, the inspired performance at the Etihad, the last gasp draw vs Chelsea are enough to sway our minds and give us hope that the United grinding machine will get switched on pretty soon.

Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria and big money signings that haven’t sparkled since their arrival. The Colombian marksman, one of the most feared attackers of the past 5 years hasn’t lit it and this has been because he is still coming to terms with his return from a career threatening ACL which only a ‘few’ footballers have recovered successfully from. That hunger is still very much evident but the finishing ability has waned and that is the major problem.

For Di Maria, the winger-cum-playmaker has found life and the football in Britain difficult to adapt to but if we remember a certain David Silva at City, the realisation will dawn on us that hope springs eternal. Despite his poor form, he is second only to Cesc Fabregas in the assists ranking. A good achievement if you ask me.

Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, also a part of van Gaal’s recruitment drive, have been wonderful. Bar the insipid performance in the FA Cup quarter-final, the duo from Argentina and Holland have rarely put a foot wrong. Blind has come to his employers’ rescue twice already this term and Rojo’s defensive abilities, largely underestimated, have been very impressive so far.

There are obvious signs of improvement and as the season wears on, we will see if van Gaal is the same man we all saw at Ajax, Barcelona, AZ, Bayern Munich and the Netherlands or not. For now, his report card reads ‘FURTHERANCE’. It is at the end of the season at his performance will be appraised and assessed based on objectives met or otherwise.

I want to see the Dutchman at the club next season and beyond.


Written by Ohireime Eboreime

Follow Ohis on Twitter @lordbaruda1987

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