Early Doors

Louis van Gaal’s first media conference: What he REALLY meant

Early Doors

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Louis van Gaal gave a very good account of himself in his first official media conference as manager of Manchester United.

The Dutchman was clear, direct and witheringly dismissive of some of the sillier questions.


But not even he could cut loose and say what he really thought.

So here's our attempt to read between the lines and interpret his quotes.



LVG said: "First I'd like to thank Bobby Charlton, SIR Bobby Charlton, for guiding me around the stadium for my first steps as manager. I'd been here with Barcelona and Bayern Munich but I was very proud to walk around here with Sir Bobby."

What he really meant: "I'm a football man. Football. Get it? This is SIR Bobby Charlton, not Mr Ed Woodward."

On expectations

LVG said: “I think I can (meet expectations). But it is difficult because the greatness of this club is more than other clubs. And this club is guided in a commercial way and it is not always possible to meet commercial and football expectations. That is my big challenge after two days.”

What he really meant: "If this club thinks I'm going to stand idly by and see my transfer kitty spent on the Glazers' debt repayments, they've got another thing coming. And don't even think about dragging my players out of training to film adverts."

On United’s size and stature

LVG said: "This is the biggest club I've managed because of its worldwide renown. But every season you have to prove you are the biggest club. When I was in China or in Brazil or in the Netherlands, people are talking about Manchester United.”

What he really meant: “...but those people were talking about what a waste of space Fellaini is, and how they were one derby defeat away from buying a City shirt.”

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On signing more players this summer

LVG said: "I want to look at the players we have now. I've seen them but I want to see them now, first hand. So for 3-4 weeks I will see what they can do, and then maybe I will buy more players."

What he really meant: “I don’t care if the entire fanbase thinks Ashley Young is terrible. He’s not terrible until I officially deem him terrible. And if I decide that, off to QPR he goes.”

On Shaw and Herrara already arriving

LVG said: “Shaw and Herrera were already on the list, and I gave my approval because I like them. But my philosophy is to judge the team we have.”

What he really meant: “I was kind of busy with the World Cup, but I didn't get where I am today by turning down £60 million worth of new players.”

On naming his first club captain

LVG said: "Quick decisions I am not always good with. Who is captain is very important to me so I will take my time to decide that."

What he really meant: “It's going to be Van Persie, but it can't hurt if Rooney does his pre-season fitness training thinking he has a chance.”

On the futures of Butt, Neville and Scholes in the coaching staff

LVG said: "Butt is already assisting us. Scholes we will find a role for him, and we also want to find a role for Phil Neville. But it has to be possible within the qualities of these people. We will speak to them about it personally."

What he really meant: "Allow me to introduce our new tea ladies!”

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On not taking a vacation between the World Cup and joining United

LVG said: "This is a holiday for me. I love being at work."

What he really meant: “Dear players. I do not rest. I do not sleep. I am always watching you. I am Van Gaal."

On what he'd regard as 'success' in season one

LVG said: "I don't know. I have to see how my players perform under my philosophy and how quickly they pick it up. Then, I can answer that. For me, you must always target first place. But the situation of the club is also a factor."

What he really meant: “If things go wrong, you can blame the players. not me.”

On working in the Premier League

LVG said: "I have never worked in the Premier League before so it was a big challenge that I wanted to accomplish. When I was Barcelona manager I felt Spain was the best league. When at Bayern I thought Germany was the best. So I feel England will now be the best with me here!"

What he really meant: “Don't let my smile lead you to believe for one second that I am joking.”

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On his ‘alpha male’ reputation

LVG said: "My reputation as being autocratic is unfair. The media want to show that part of my personality but it's just a small part of me (makes a small hand gesture)."

What he really meant: “Who would have thought that time I showed the Bayern squad my giant testicles would have resonated?”

On Sir Alex Ferguson

LVG said: "Ferguson called me to congratulate me and we discussed going for a drink or something to eat. We will have coffee or wine, the better wine I imagine."

What he really meant: “If I meet Ferguson it's going to be at a fancy restaurant, not after he's sat in the stands like the Ghost of Christmas Past while my team loses at home to West Brom. I am not the Chosen One. United didn't choose Van Gaal. Van Gaal chose United."

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