Louis van Gaal has revealed he feels under pressure to succeed at Manchester United to repay the generous support of Old Trafford legend Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson has given his backing to Van Gaal in recent interviews, claiming the United manager can restore the team to the lofty levels which Ferguson himself attained in his 27 years as boss.
Certainly, Van Gaal’s efforts in leading United into a top-three position as the Premier League enters the Christmas period have been impressive and generated an air of optimism at the club not felt since Ferguson retired last year.
However, that backing has come at a cost, Van Gaal said.
“It’s fantastic,” Van Gaal said on Tuesday. “When you come to Manchester United, because I know Sir Alex, you hope that he will support you and when he is supporting you, he is doing that not only this week, but in other conferences he gave.”
“He showed a lot of confidence and belief in me, and you need that as a trainer-coach, as manager of Manchester United,” Van Gaal said. “You need that belief and support of managers like Sir Alex. I am very happy with that because then you can work more easily, but it’s also pressure because he believes in you and that gives you that pressure that you have to get results. It’s not so easy to win Premier League matches.”
United, unbeaten in seven games, open their festive fixture list with a home clash against Newcastle United tomorrow and Van Gaal insisted he has already succeeded in one of his primary aims — making Old Trafford a venue where other teams fear to play.
Since losing at home to Swansea City on the opening day of the season, in his first competitive match in charge, United have won seven and drawn one of their eight home games.
“I have said after the first loss against Swansea that it’s a pity we came back from the United States and won everything, and then lost our first match in the Premier League,” Van Gaal said.
“We want to build a fortress at Old Trafford and we have made that already because we have won a lot. I’m happy with that, but then we have to continue because seven [wins] is too few I think. So we have to continue and that’s the most difficult point because it’s not easy to win games in the Premier League,” he said.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal paid tribute to captain Wayne Rooney’s versatility, but insisted he still remains an important attacking threat.
The England forward played in a deep midfield role in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, but Van Gaal does not accept that Rooney’s days as a goal threat are behind him.
“Wayne is a player who can play in different positions and I like that because I like multi-functional players, that’s why I can use him as a midfielder, also as a striker and an attacking midfielder,” he said. “The last game he was [a] more defensive midfielder. I like that he is also coming into the 18-yard box because he can score goals. He has the ability to run from box to box and that is also a little bit that he has to ‘feel’ in a match — read the match — and he can do this, but that’s a matter of time and he can do that. I like him closer to their area than our own goal.”
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
‘COMPLICATED’: The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament ‘a decision I never wanted to take,’ but added that he would ‘rather not travel’ Defending champion Rafael Nadal has said that he would skip the US Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam titles. On Tuesday, Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English. “The situation is very complicated worldwide. Coronavirus cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote. The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not
The Braves were dealt a double blow as the Mets’ Jacob deGrom struck out 10 in six innings to help New York snap a five-game skid with a 7-2 victory on Monday, and as Atlanta top pitcher Mike Soroka went down with a torn Achilles tendon in the third inning. “There’s no sugarcoating this night,” Atlanta slugger Freddie Freeman said. “It stinks. It really does.” Soroka crumpled to the ground on a seemingly routine play, breaking toward first to cover the bag on a grounder to Freeman’s right. “When you lose, in my mind, one of the top pitching arms in this entire