Louis Van Gaal wants his Manchester United to resemble the Holland squad he steered to third place at the World Cup and the Dutchman has expressed his desire for United players to be “singing from the same hymn sheet”.
After a successful World Cup, Van Gaal will officially be unveiled as Manchester United manager this week, before flying out to the US for United’s summer tour – unlike Robin Van Persie, who will miss the North American tour after having been given three weeks off – when the job of rebuilding the squad that collapsed under David Moyes will begin in its earnest.
Holland arrived at the World Cup surrounded by low expectations and an aura of diffidence, with many considering Van Gaal’s squad too young and unexperienced to make it out of a very though group containing Spain and Chile. However, not only did the Oranje reached they knockout stages, they went as far as the semifinals, where they lost on penalties to Argentina, before putting three past Brazil in the third spot play-off.
Apart from Arjen Robben and Van Persie, Holland lacked any recognised stars but a combination of promising youngsters, tactical flexibility and great team spirit took the Oranje tantalisingly close to a second consecutive World Cup final and Van Gaal wants to see the same dedication at Old Trafford this season.
“I hope my new group in Manchester will be just like this one,” Van Gaal told The Sun. “We set an objective and we believed in that objective. We wanted first place. “And really we were very, very close to doing that, only penalties stopped us.
“Not to be able to achieve that objective was so disappointing but we won third place, we got a medal which is fantastic.
“And we scored 15 goals in seven matches, so we can look back on a successful tournament and I’m just so proud of my players and my staff.
“Now the first thing we have to do at United is the same, to all start singing from the same hymn sheet. Then we’ll see if we do that then all’s well that ends well.”