Like a smoky shadow creeping behind him, Louis van Gaal carries an aura with him wherever he goes.
Powerful yet composed, autocratic yet democratic, direct and controlled, Van Gaal’s first press conference was everything Manchester United fans expected it to be, and more.
No stupid questions, no avoided topics, just cold hard stares and direct answers. The press waited on his every word with baited breath. They were the marionettes and Van Gaal held the strings.
Having that sort of command is going to be a cornerstone of Van Gaal’s stamping his power and control over this United side and a fortnight before the World Cup, the Dutchman presented a management speech which gave a real insight into what sort of manager he is, and how he’s going to use his philosophy to rebuild United.
Take your time to watch the video (with English subtitles on) because it really will help United fans to understand a lot more about the logic behind Van Gaal and how he works.
Here are some of the main points which Van Gaal discussed:
On arrogance and his coaching vision
“The national coach (me) sees opportunities because he believes in vision and structure. When I say that, I mean MY vision, and my structure. Yes, that is arrogant. I bet you hear that more, that people find me arrogant. It does not bother me. I am NOT arrogant. But I do believe in my vision. So the people who work in my organization have something to hold on to. That is what I believe in.’
On the importance of preparation
“I see chances because I believe in preparation. That is half the job. My mum used to say that. And she only went to primary school. But she knew that! You don’t think I would be standing here without preparing? Training. In football that is normal. Is it normal in a company. You recruit people and do you train them to create the best product? I do that! I train them every day. I go over certain things every day. I do training, analysis and evaluation. That is what I believe in.”
On how important his back room staff is to helping him make decisions
“I can’t do it on my own. Because I don’t know everything, do I? I know you start laughing, because I am portrayed continuously that I do know everything. I listen to specialists? Do you listen to your employees? They produce your stuff.
“Look here: The coaches, these are my staff. If I go back to what I believe in: Preparation, training, analysis, evaluation, than it all comes down to the use of my organisation! I have 12 members of staff who are working for me, who are preparing, training, analysing and evaluating for me. But I am the one who has to guide them, steer them in the right direction.
“We have two assistant coaches and a goalkeeper coach. So, including me as head coach, that is a group of four staff members who are just focusing on skills and tactics. And I have a total of 12, including all the others, physiologists, video analysts, etc. This is how important it is to work in my organisation so I can get the best product possible on the pitch. All together, there are 37 people in my staff.
“When I became national coach, the whole world thought I was going to pick the players who had to get us to the World Cup. No! First the staff! I always first pick my staff! I have to surround myself with good staff. We have to surround the players with quality staff. Why? It does not matter whether is a product, a tool, a machine, or knowledge you want to pass on to a big public, I always make sure that I have specialists in every department who advise me.”
On being the boss
“Almost always I follow the advice of the specialists in my organisation. Almost always, as I am still the boss and I take the decisions. When you look at all the figures, my staff, and you add the number of players in the squad, than it comes usually to 60 people I am working with on a daily basis. By vision on the football process.
“Vision is not just about the game. My vision also stands for my vision on each person, on society, on the way I speak. My tone of voice, If I leave gaps in between my sentences. There is always a reason for that. It always comes back to my football team.”
Credit to the Daily Mail for the transcripts.