Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam believes Louis van Gaal can bring the Premier League title back to Old Trafford next season, but has warned the current crop of Red Devils stars they must defend better if they're going to topple Chelsea at the summit.
The 42-year-old has spoken very highly about the credentials of his fellow Dutchman, who has made a positive impression during his debut campaign in charge at the Theatre of Dreams.
It took a little while for the former Netherlands head coach's philosophy to transmit to the players, but in the second half of 2014/15 they've really started to show signs of a very positive future.
You need only look at the Iron Tulip's successful stints at other illustrious European clubs over the years, and it's clear that Manchester United are in very safe hands for the duration of Van Gaal's stewardship.
And, Stam's latest comments add even more weight to the argument that the club has finally found a suitable successor to the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
"Louis van Gaal is a great builder of a team; he’s proven that in Munich and Barcelona," Stam is quoted saying by the club's official website ManUtd.com. "He knows what to do, he’s got his own thing that he wants to do, he keeps following that and that’s why he’s had success.
"In terms of next season, if he can bring in a couple of new players and carry on working with the youngsters, telling them what to do and showing them videos, he’s going to win the league I think. Hopefully next season.
“He’s a manager with a lot of qualities and a great temperament; he’s done well at Barcelona, Bayern and the national team, so everyone in both England and Holland is expecting a lot of him. Everyone wants him to do well at United and to win trophies again.
“Maybe United need to defend a bit better to win the title. Chelsea didn't play the most attacking football, but they got results, and I think that’s what you need as a team and a manager.
"It’s good for the team and the players if you’re getting results and winning the league, so if they keep playing attacking football and don’t concede as many goals, eventually you’ll get results and win the league as well."
Stam played an instrumental role in Manchester United's historic treble success in 1998/99 - side that was built on the solid foundations that the retired centre-back previously spoke about.
He won trophies in each of his three full seasons in England and is fondly remembered by Red Devils supporters. His reputation will probably be enhanced even further when fans read his latest quotes about the exciting times he predicts they have to look forward to under Van Gaal - a coach he was lucky enough to work under during his first spell in charge of the Holland national team.
Famed for his aggressive, tough-tackling approach, Stam also touched on the importance of Manchester United having a settled back line, something that hasn't been possible for much of this season due to a fluctuation of injuries.
With a number of new players arriving at the club over the summer, naturally they'll take a little bit of time to settle, but once they are integrated and have become accustomed to the English style then the fans' favourite is confident the defence can become watertight.
“It’s very important to have a settled back four," he explained. "Especially at United, when you’re playing against other quality teams in Europe and in the Premier League – you need a defence with players that can be used alongside each other.
"They need to know what to do in certain situations so that without thinking, certain things happen and the players are helping each other.
“I’ve read and seen a couple of times that the manager is perhaps struggling to find the ideal situation in terms of a back four that can perform for a couple of seasons in a row, but the defenders are still very young and that’s something you need to think about.
They’ve brought in some experienced, high-quality players but still have a young defence that I think needs to work together for a certain period to get maximum results. That’s how it goes in every team, if you’re building, you need time to get results."
Manchester United fans: Do you think Louis van Gaal can win the Premier League title next season? What area of the squad do you feel needs most improvement this summer? Have your say below...
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