Angel di Maria has become one of the standout players in the Premier League after his £ 60 million transfer from Real Madrid. He is also the most expensive player in the Premier League as result of this transfer, but he has so far been looking a great buy for United. He has featured in only two matches for the Red Devils so far, but di Maria has already contributed in several assists and has also scored a goal. His opening match for United came in the 0-0 draw against Burnley where he was extremely threatening on several occasions.
The real eye-opener came in the 4-0 win over QPR during the weekend. As United struggled to break through a QPR team that was prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure, di Maria came up with a stunning freekick in the 24th min to open his account for United. This instantly relieved a lot of pressure within the home supporters, who then were provided with a stunning performance from the Argentine. He also contributed in a few more goals before being substituted because of fitness issues.
After the match, Louis van Gaal praised the 26-year-old for his immense performance, but has also sent out a warning to the rest of the Premier League by saying that di Maria could improve even more. “When you make three goals and score the first yourself then you cannot play badly. But he had a lot of unnecessary losses [of possession], so he can do better. It’s nearly impossible to do better when you score one goal and help make three others, but I’m analysing the game and I see things we can improve on,” said the United manager. Di Maria was also in stunning form for Argentina in a recent friendly match against world champions Germany.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has tried to start of the mind games well before the start of the new season after suggesting that Louis van Gaal should not underestimate the strength of the Premier League. Mind games between managers at the top are quite common. In the past, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez have squared up against each other in this cold war on numerous occasions whether the Scot coming out successful more often than not. Rodgers is reportedly keen to shake up Van Gaal before he starts his new managerial reign.
The Dutchman has so far been impressive managing United in the pre-season. Apart from leading United to success over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup, Van Gaal has also decided to make the club play in a different style. He has been speaking a lot about having won trophies with the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Rodgers, though, says that it is quite a different prospect to win the Premier League where at least five teams will be challenging for the title in the coming campaign. It is not the case with Spanish and German league where only two teams challenge for the title at most.
Rodgers failed to win the league title last season, but it was only because of their disappointing form in the last three matches.
“I think what he’ll find is the competition in this league will be different from any other league that he’s worked in. In a lot of the other leagues there are one or two teams and those are the teams that are expected to win. This is a league where the top team plays the bottom team and on any given day you can lose. You don’t get that a lot in the other leagues. I think the competition will probably take him by surprise and that’s from foreign managers I have spoken to over the years,” said Rodgers.
Former Manchester United first team coach Rene Meulensteen believes incoming Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal will need time in order to make his mark at the club.
The 62 year old, who led The Netherlands team to third place in the recently concluded World Cup in Brazil, is expected to take up his position as manager this week but the former coach doesn’t expect he will be able to deliver immediate success. Continue reading →
Former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs says that spending the last four matches of last season as the interim manager has been a major help towards his career. Giggs has revealed on several occasions that he wants to become a manager once his playing days came to an end. After he was announced as the replacement for David Moyes – at least on an interim basis, there was heavy speculation that Giggs could be the next permanent manager at United. However, the board decided to go in for an experienced a name in the form of Louis van Gaal.
Giggs, though, will be providing the club with some much-needed continuity, as he will be assisting van Gaal from the dugout. United have not decided to offer the likes of Paul Scholes the chance to continue their position at the club. Being offered this position is a privilege according to Giggs, who also says that he wants to make the most out of it and learn as much as possible from the 62-year-old. Van Gaal is regarded as the mentor for several top managers including Jose Mourinho. Giggs says that spending only four matches on the dugout last season helped him learn a lot.
Giggs’ first match incharge of United ended in a convincing 4-0 win against Norwich, but results that followed were not great.
“When I took the [interim] job there were a lot of things that I was quite happy with, but there was the odd thing where I thought ‘I’m not quite ready for this’. Well it wasn’t that I wasn’t ready for it, but I could do with a little bit more experience. I have gained that experience from Sir Alex [Ferguson] but last year I was still playing so I wasn’t really focused on the coaching and the other side of things,” said Giggs.