Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Biting Back: Louis Van Gaal has hit the ground running at Old Trafford

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Two swallows don't make a summer. While some Manchester United fans will be dreaming of a winter of content, leading to a spring renaissance, on the back of two impressive US tour wins, many more will be scratching their heads as to how the club got it so wrong a year ago.

Wisdom in hindsight is a wonderful thing. Who wouldn't have listened to the still-revered Sir Alex Ferguson when he insisted David Moyes should be anointed the Chosen One?

Louis van Gaal may not win a thing. He knows fine well that pre-season friendly form counts for nothing in the great scheme of things at the business end of the season. He is also wise enough to know he will stand and fall by his own methods.

Looking back, David Moyes appeared just too eager to please, over-awed and desperate to fit in. Van Gaal is saying it's my way or the highway. It has taken a horrible year-long wake-up call for United fans to realise football club management and priorities changed dramatically during the safety net of Fergie.

Moyes believed he had time with the cushion of a six-year contract. Van Gaal has hit the ground running, knowing two seasons without a trophy will spell an early end to his three-year deal.

The Dutchman exudes an authority Moyes did not. He understands United's history and traditions but he also gets it that his objective is to fill the club's bank accounts as well as the trophy room – and quickly.

And for that to happen, the club, its supporters and players must change to suit him because, unlike Moyes, van Gaal will neither bend nor blink first. It is early days but the response tells you those who matter are buying into it.

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