Louis van Gaal has called on Manchester United players to find the same unity as the Netherlands squad had at the World Cup.
The departing Holland coach inspired ‘Oranje’ to a third-place finish at the Fifa World Cup, following a 3-0 win over hosts Brazil in Brasilia on Saturday.
The Dutchman has been handed the reins at Premier League club Manchester United and is set to resume duty next week. He hopes he could help revive the fortunes of the 20-time champions, who endured a largely disappointing season last time round.
“My players were great. I hope that the group in Manchester will become like this one because we have to read from the same hymn sheet. I hope I can get them to do that there,” said the 62-year-old.
His inclusion of Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm in the final minutes of the third-place match at the Estadio Nacional means Van Gaal involved all 23-member of his World Cup squad in Brazil, where they scored 15 goals and conceded four (two from penalties).
Van Gaal departs the Netherlands leaving behind positive memories, having progressed through the qualifying stages of the tournament; as well as the finals, unbeaten, with their only defeat being the 4-2 shootout loss to Argentina in the semi-finals after extra-time had ended in stalemate.
The former Ajax, Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach shied away from assuring the Old Trafford faithful of such record on his return to club management, but tells them to expects the very “best” of him.
“I couldn’t do it with Ajax, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. Losing is part of sport,” he said. “I just hope that at Manchester United I can do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans, we’ll have to wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”
Having gotten off to a flier in a 5-1 mauling of the soon-to-be-dethroned defending champions Spain, followed with subsequent victories over Australia and Group B runners-up Chile; Van Gaal’s team went on to beat Mexico in the second round and Costa Rica on penalties in the last 8, before conceding shootout luck to Argentina last Wednesday.
The new United boss says he is satisfied with his side’s performance in Brazil, despite falling shot of another world title.
“I think we can look back on a successful tournament and I am proud of my players and staff,” said van Gaal, who went against the Dutch tradition of playing a 4-3-3 formation and used a 3-5-2 system in Brazil.
“My dream was to become a world champion and we could have done it. This was my last match and we finish it with a medal, but it was also important to display a new style of football.
“Maybe this will open everyone’s eyes in the Netherlands and make them realise there is not just one system that can give people happiness. I prefer to use the qualities of the squad, and it worked. We were not champions, but we were very close.”