Louis van Gaal has revealed that he was expecting to be berated by the Manchester United fans following his side’s poor start to the season, but was pleasantly surprised when they continued to show their support.
Speaking to the club’s official website the Dutchman confirmed that he feared the worst after the Red Devils had garnered just 13 points from their opening 11 matches, despite having spent in excess of £150 million over the course of the summer transfer window.
Love from the fans
A rough start sapped much of the optimism Van Gaal had spent an unbeaten pre-season stockpiling, with supporters worried that the fall from grace brought about by David Moyes’s doomed reign was set to continue.
However since then Van Gaal’s troops have rallied and produced an impressive run of form. Currently they sit third in the Premier League table and haven’t lost in their last 11 games, a fear even United’s stern manager is sure to allow himself to take pride in.
Above all else though the 63-year-old has made it clear that an aspect of the team’s success in need of crediting is the support from the stands though, with the fans offering him the chance to turn things around after his shaky start to life in the Old Trafford hot-seat.
Van Gaal surprise
"The first feeling I had was especially after 11 matches, when we had 13 points, and I came into the stadium walking and I thought now the fans shall not be pleased," he explained.
"But they were rising up and clapping their hands when I entered the stadium.
"But they were rising up and clapping their hands when I entered the stadium"
"I felt not so happy myself because I was responsible and guilty for the results so I am very happy we won a number of matches in a row [after then]. [Also] I have had the time to know all my players and they are very good. It's an exciting time and it's why I became a manager - because I want to work with young people; it keeps you young, and you can make a team out of it.
The ongoing love for Van Gaal is a far cry from the emotions displayed at United last season, where the knives were sharpened on a weekly basis for Moyes given his disastrous fortunes in the red half of Manchester.
Joy turned to ash in his mouth as ‘The Chosen One’ banner - meant to be a play on Jose Mourinho’s title of ‘The Special One’ - was eventually replaced by a message attached to the back of a plane that read ‘Moyes Out’.
Of course perceptions can change quickly, and Van Gaal will be keen to ensure that the adoration aimed at his work isn’t derailed by a disappointing transfer window. Though United are performing above expectations this season there’s still work to be done if they’re to claim parity with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, and a host of potential new players are said to be on the radar.