Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal sets sights on winning title in first season

Dutchman has fine reputation for bringing through youngsters and he intends to give youth its chance at Old Trafford

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has set his sights on winning the title in his first season. The current Netherlands national boss has signed a three-year deal to take charge at Old Trafford after this summer's World Cup.

The 62-year-old has a proven track record of success having won league crowns with Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich. Now his task is to restore confidence at United, after a disappointing season in which they finished seventh, and reclaim the Premier League title.

Asked what his objectives were, Van Gaal said on Dutch TV: “That they are back as soon as possible at spot number one, (that) they (fans) will think they are champions of England again within a year.

“Spain saw me succeed in my first year and in Germany as well. In England, it must also be possible. But there can only be one champion. I would be proud if it works right away.”


Van Gaal may now be switching his immediate attention to the World Cup in Brazil but he has reportedly already handed United a list of transfer targets.

The Dutchman, however, also has a fine reputation for bringing through youngsters and he intends to give youth its chance again at United.

"You do not only do it with stars, but also with youth players," said Van Gaal, who will succeed the sacked David Moyes.

Van Gaal intends to meet with former manager Alex Ferguson, who has remained at Old Trafford as a director since retiring a year ago. “I will certainly go for a drink with him,” Van Gaal said. “I’ve often done it before. We are like each other, I always put more pressure on myself than other people do.”

Text message

Van Gaal said he had sent a text message to family and friends 30 minutes before Monday’s announcement by United, including one to Chelsea manager Mourinho, his former assistant in Spain. “He was the first who responded,” said Van Gaal. “He said he was jealous of the list of clubs that I have worked at.”

On the process of signing for United, Van Gaal added: “It didn’t take very long. I was approached directly after the sacking of Moyes. I have negotiated much longer with other clubs.”

Youngster Adnan Januzaj, whose emergence was one of the most positive aspects of Moyes' ill-fated reign, is looking forward to working with the new manager.

The 19-year-old said: “He is an excellent coach, who has won a lot of prizes. I think United are facing a bright future.”

One of Van Gaal's first jobs has been to appoint Ryan Giggs as his assistant. The long-serving Giggs (40) has ended his glittering 24-season playing career to take up the opportunity.

United are still to clarify the future of two of Moyes' backroom staff in coach Phil Neville and goalkeeping coach Chris Woods. It is also unclear whether Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, who came into the first-team coaching set-up during Giggs' recent four-match spell as interim manager, will still have prominent roles.