Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has broken his silence on current incumbent, Louis van Gaal, and claimed the Dutchman “is doing the right thing” by breaking up the old squad and building his own. Van Gaal has had a mixed start to his first season as United manager, despite only achieving 11 points from eight matches, United sit fourth spot, just three points off second place Manchester City.
Van Gaal has spent $240 million since taking over the helm from David Moyes, including smashing the British transfer record with the $96 million capture of Argentina international Ángel Fabián Di María from Real Madrid. Meanwhile, a number of big names have left Old Trafford either on loan or permanently to reduce the wage bill – they include Danny Welbeck, Nani, Javier Hernández and Tom Cleverley.
While van Gaal’s predecessor Moyes was heavily-criticized for only bringing in Marouane Fellaini from Everton in the summer of 2013, subsequently followed up with the capture of Juan Mata from Chelsea in January, the new manager has taken the opposite approach and tried to make the squad his own.
Speaking to club channel MUTV, Ferguson said: “Louis van Gaal has made a lot of changes and, thinking about that, actually, maybe he’s doing the right thing — to clear the decks and build his own team. Because he’s got the experience and coaching ability to do that. The way he’s approached it, I think he has been brilliant.”
Although van Gaal is confident in his own ability to get United back into a Champions League spot this season – as seen at his press conferences – he will be pleased to have been endorsed by the most successful manager in the history of the English game. Ferguson was the man who hand-picked Moyes to succeed him at Old Trafford, but his fellow Scot was unable to carry the weight of expectation that comes with being the manager of United. Ferguson is understood to have had a say in van Gaal’s appointment, but it was not his decision following the mistake in appointing Moyes.
The Premier League is currently taking a two-week international break and van Gaal will be hoping to get all his players back fit and healthy after bemoaning the mounting casualty list. United have some nine players out through injury, including Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones.
Despite the fact Moyes was only given 10 months to succeed, van Gaal has vowed to work through his three-year deal and make United a force in Europe again. The man who managed clubs such as Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich has already admitted that this current job is the most challenging he has ever faced and he has been surprised at the intensity of the Premier League. He also said he has never experienced matches where teams pressed the ball so much. While the jury is still out on van Gaal and his team, it does him no harm when Ferguson breaks his silence and labels him “brilliant” during a televised interview.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd
Image courtesy of Moreno Berti – license