Whatever you thought about Louis van Gaal’s spell at Manchester United, there’s no doubt the recently-retired Dutch tactician is an interesting character to listen to.
Van Gaal spent two seasons in charge of the Red Devils, during which he was largely unpopular for what was seen as a boring style of play that also didn’t really bring much in the way of results.
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In an interview with BBC Sport, LVG defends his record, reminding readers that he got the club into the top four in his first season in charge, and won the FA Cup under difficult circumstances in his second campaign.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of his interview, however, is the part in which he analyses the change at Old Trafford since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as manager.
The Norwegian tactician has been widely lauded for the work he’s done, but Van Gaal doesn’t seem too convinced by the style of football, saying he’s still essentially parking the bus like Mourinho did.
“The coach after me [Mourinho] changed to park-the-bus tactics and played on the counter. Now there is another coach who parks the bus and plays on the counter. The main difference between Mourinho and Solskjaer is that Solskjaer is winning,” the former United boss told BBC Sport.
“I am not there but there does look to be a change and the atmosphere seems to be better. It is also true that Solskjaer has changed Paul Pogba’s position and put him into an area where he is much more important.
“But the way Manchester United are playing now is not the way Ferguson played. It is defensive, counter-attacking football. If you like it, you like it. If you think it is more exciting than my boring attacking, OK. But it is not my truth.
“Solskjaer has just lost twice and he has to manage that. It is very important that Manchester United qualifies for the Champions League, as it was when I was manager. But they can also win the Champions League because they play a defensive system and it is very difficult to beat them, which, whether you like it or not, is the result of Mourinho’s work.”
Van Gaal went on to aim another dig in the direction of Angel Di Maria, one of his most notable flop signings at United.
The Argentine lasted just one season at the club, having badly failed to adapt to the Premier League despite being seen as such an exciting addition when he joined.
“Di Maria says it was my problem. I played him in every attacking position. You can check that. He never convinced me in any of those positions,” Van Gaal said.
“He could not deal with the continuous pressure on the ball in the Premier League. That was his problem.”