When David Moyes was Manchester United’s manager, we excused his ineffectiveness by saying succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager in British football history was a tough job. But more difficult than succeeding a great man is cleaning up after a guy, who made the mess of everything.
Louis van Gaal has a very big job on his hands; it is bringing back the glory of Man United, which Moyes almost drowned last season with bismal performances and a pathetic seventh place finish.
To bring back United’s glory and make Old Trafford an hallowed ground, once again, van Gaal needed to instil discipline and boost players’ self-belief. He needed to bring back the winning mentality the Red devils used to be known for that made opposing teams scared untilthe final whistle. United needed to return to being comeback kings.
As hard as the job looks, van Gaal has been able to achieve the most important thing; making United players realise how good they are. We can talk about Ashley Young who has been a shadow of his Aston Villa self over the past few seasons, but has so far been an integral part of van Gaal’s team, scoring match-winning goals as United went on to win the International Champions Cup, pipping Real Madrid, Roma, Inter Milan and Liverpool to the pre-season title.
“Obviously we didn’t lose a game which is good for the confidence but the most important thing is that we believe in what we are doing,” said Juan Mata after the pre-season victory over Liverpool.
We have also seen a Darren Fletcher, who has battled with ulcerative colitis in the past rising up to the occasion and showing ability to lead the team as van Gaal searches for a skipper. Darren may be United’s next captain as van Gaal has made known his preference for an home-grown skipper.
Wayne Rooney is also shining under the Dutch manager and he is another top candidate for the captaincy. The English striker had recently revealed he would be pleased to captain United, although some fans may have problems with his captaincy as he has been accused of disloyalty after threatening to leave the club twice.
Tom Cleverly did not do badly either, but he may not have impressed van Gaal enough, especially with new boy Ander Herrera having shown he can be United’s best buy in recent times, with pulsating performances in pre-season. Shinji Kagawa has however shown he may never adapt to life at United and may soon be on his way out like Naani and Anderson. who are certain to leave as they fit nowhere in the new course United is heading.
Louis van Gaal no doubt has brought a working formula, and United players have bought into the Dutch gaffer’s philosophy.
Now United are being considered title contenders and teams in the premier league will start taking them serious once again. [@ScotorJay]