Football

Louis van Gaal enjoying Manchester United "distraction"

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Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has insisted that taking out to ponder decisions concerning his next role as Manchester United boss will not be to the detriment of his side's World Cup hopes, describing thoughts surrounding life at Old Trafford as a "healthy distraction".

Van Gaal will lead Holland into battle against defending champions Spain in tonight's Group B opener in Salvador, as he bids to prove an exciting young side are capable of exercising the demons from the final in South Africa four years ago.

Red Devils fans are of course desperate to see signs that Van Gaal fulfilling his commitment to Holland until potentially mid-July will not have an impact, but the veteran coach believes there is plenty of time to make plans United during five long weeks in South America.

The 64-year-old told The Mirror: "Distraction? It may be a distraction but, for instance, the players - when was it? - on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I gave them some time off, just to get out there.

"You can't just focus monotonously on the World Cup, so perhaps Manchester United was a good distraction. You can't be fully focused on football for five weeks."

"The World Cup is a championship clubs don't take part in, so I am fully focused on the national team."

It's no secret that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had hoped to secure at least one top quality signing before the World Cup to take the heat off Van Gaal and co, but he's failed to achieve that objective despite talks over the likes of Southampton Luke Shaw.

United are in desperate need of additions and must be looking enviously at Chelsea, who this afternoon confirmed a £30m deal for ex-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, a player who Woodward tried desperately to sign just last summer.

Diego Costa and Filipe Luis are expected to follow Fabregas from La Liga to Stamford Bridge before the month is out, while bitter rivals Liverpool have also strengthened their squad already by signing Rickie Lambert and Emre Can.

Central defence is one area United must focus on whether Van Gaal is busy managing Holland or not, after experienced duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand both moved on at the end of the season.

Patrice Evra also still needs a long-term successor despite signing a contract extension as the pursuit of Shaw continues, but its surely central midfield that requires the most urgent attention from Red Devils chiefs.

United were desperately lacking a dynamic figure to boss the middle of the park last season, particularly when teams came to Old Trafford and enjoyed success in terms of possession and results that was previously unheard of in the Premier League era.

For now Van Gaal and football fans across the world are focused on the World Cup and rightly so, but next season will come round very quickly and United know they are working against the clock to ensure there is no repeat of a truly dreadful campaign which has deprived the club of European football and a certain air of invincibility that they used to take for granted.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Manchester United
Premier League

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