Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has come in for stinging criticism from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of Bayern Munich, who claims the Dutchman has a “huge ego” and was difficult to work with.
Van Gaal was appointed at the Allianz Arena in 2009 and spent one particularly successful full season with the club, winning a domestic double and almost completing this with a European crown, but for a defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Inter in the Champions League final.
But things unravelled in the following campaign. Van Gaal was sacked in early April after Bayern had slipped out of the Bundesliga’s top three positions, after it had initially been announced that his contract would be cancelled at the end of the season.
Poor results only exacerbated tensions behind the scenes as Van Gaal attempted to establish further control at Bayern and, says Rummenigge, “hard times” were endured while he was at the helm of the current Bundesliga holders.
“As soon as he presented his autobiography in a snobby restaurant, I knew hard times were ahead,” Rummenigge told Spiegel.
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“Louis van Gaal was not always easy-care. He wanted to ‘Vangaalise’ our club. He has a huge ego.”
There is unlikely to be such problems at Old Trafford with Manchester United in need of a hard-lined regime, much like Sir Alex Ferguson’s, in order to get the club back on track following David Moyes’ brief tenure.
But while Van Gaal has the temperament and bloody-mindedness behind the scenes to convince those at boardroom level that he is the right man to take the club forward, he has been found wanting when it comes to matters on the pitch.
Van Gaal has presided over Manchester United’s poorest start to a season in the Premier League era, with his points total after 10 matches fewer than the number Moyes had accumulated at the same stage last term.
Upon his arrival in Manchester, Van Gaal had requested that judgement be reserved until he had three months to mould his team, but has now claimed he can only be judged in three years, and it would appear he will get far longer than Moyes to prove his worth.