Louis van Gaal: We were the lucky team today

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]anchester United’s ‘stole victory’ against Everton as per their Manager Louis van Gaal, lift them next to Manchester City with one point down and make them one of the contenders for the next season’s Champions League place.

United’s graph not well since the beginning from this season, but they managed to avoid the Champions League exit from next season. Despite of poor scoring record with this season, they beat Manchester City in a vital match and found young talents on their side.

Anthony Martial scored the only goal of the match and stole the fans at Old Trafford.

Last three months LVG is fighting to secure his job in Old Trafford, which is still under threat by Jose Mourinho.

He said after 1-0 win against Everton:

“We didn’t play so well,”

“We didn’t create many chances.

“Everton are a very good team, much stronger away than at home, and it was a very tight game. We were the lucky team today.” Van Gaal said.

“We want to give entertainment for the fans, but the fans were entertained today because of the tension,”

“If we lose today, the victory against Manchester City is worthless,”

“Now we are still in the race. We have a very important game against Tottenham.”

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Europa League draw-Man United handed favourable opponents

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The Europa League draw has thrown up some interesting clashes, with a handful of talented teams surely looking at the tournament as a real chance of silverware this term.

Manchester United will be favourites to progress from the round of 32 with aussiebet.com after being pitted against Danish minnows FC Midtylland.

Louis van Gaal’s men will still be rueing not progressing from a manageable Champions League pool, with defeat in their last game against Wolfsburg condemning the Red Devils to Europe’s second-tier tournament.

However, the Dutch trainer has the chance to regain a feel-good factor at Old Trafford by progressing in the Europa League, with the Scandinavians not the most daunting opponent.

Tottenham will come face-to-face with the team that knocked them out of the tournament last season, with a reunion against Fiorentina to take place.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men look more assured and solid this term, but the Italian side have also progressed under Paulo Sousa and are in the higher echelons of Serie A after a good start.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have mixed emotions as he takes his side to Germany to face Augsburg in a potential banana-skin clash.

The Bundesliga side have been quiet achievers in recent seasons, but the former Borussia Dortmund trainer will know them well from his time at Signal Iduna Park.

Klopp’s former club have been drawn in arguably the most mouth-watering clash of the round, with Dortmund to face up against Porto.

The Portuguese powerhouses dropped down from the Champions League and it is fair to assume that the winner of this clash will be one of the frontrunners to win the entire tournament.

Italian side Lazio will have to storm a volatile reception in their first-leg away clash with Galatasaray, while Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk look evenly matched.

German side Bayer Leverkusen were unlucky to be knocked out of the Champions League and have been handed a very tricky tie in the form of in-form Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon.

There could well be a tetchy atmosphere on the terraces as Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow have been paired with Turks Fenerbahce, with their respective host nations at loggerheads politically.

Napoli have put forward a case to be considered as possible Italian champions this term, but their match-up with Villarreal looks set to be very tight.

Sevilla will fancy their chances of ousting Norwegians Molde, while Gary Neville’s Valencia are favourites against Rapid Vienna.

From the remaining fixtures, Olympiakos, Saint-Etienne, Braga and Kuban Krasnodar are likely to progress.

A big test for Louis Van Gaal in Champions League

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After the humiliating goal-less match against West Ham at Old Trafford, Manchester United is now heading to Champions League clash against Wolfburg.

Last-16 fate of United will be decided by this crucial match and they beat Wolfburg 2-1 with the goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.

Major blow for Manchester United is Wayne Rooney’s ankle injury. Anthony Martial is going to replace the England forward, but Champions League needs experience to taste the victory.

Fans were booed and shouted ‘Attack, Attack, Attack’. It shows that they are expecting the numbers on scoreboard. Louis Van Gaal is handling an unbalanced situation.

But Van Gaal said this Champions League match won’t rely with Premier League results.

He said: “You have to prove yourselves, as a club, as a team and as players,”

He also believes his experience will bring back the United from trouble.

“When you are creating chances you shall finish those kind of chances,”

“That’s why we have that belief. It’s a matter of time and I hope we can prove it against Wolfsburg.

“I have the experience as a manager that the goals shall come.”

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Van Gaal about Martial: “We have to give him time and that’s always difficult when you are playing for a team like Manchester United because the expectations are very high,”

“But I am very convinced that he will continue with his performances, and that he shall score at the right moment again.

“You cannot expect a 20-year-old player coming to the Premier League to score every week. I didn’t expect it either.

“When he came he was accelerating in the start of his campaign at Manchester United. I know that and I have to explain it to everybody because he doesn’t need that pressure to score every match.”

Even a draw will help Wolfsburg to reach their Champions League knockout for the first time. If they beat Manchester United they will stand next in group table.

Wayne Rooney ruled out from Champions League

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Wayne Rooney has to wait for his 500th appearance due to his “nasty injury” which is described by Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal.

30-years-old forward failed to complete the 90 minutes the 1-1 draw at Leicester City. Now it seems his ankle injury become serious issue.

Saturday United has a clash against West Ham and a crucial match against Wolfburg in Champions League so the live Football tickets for these games won’t be a simple task to get.

But, England playmaker will miss these two games. Last month LVG said Rooney has to earn his forward position from Anthony Martial, but the injury blows the possibilities to worst.

Van Gaal said: “It’s a nasty injury. He shall not play his 500th game because he is more injured than I thought so we have to wait for that game. His ankle is not good enough. He has to do a lot of exercises to make his ankle stronger. He needs more time.”

“Wayne’s ankle is not good enough and we have to recover that ankle with a lot of strength, so he has to do a lot of exercises to make it stronger. He needs more time.”

United boss also believes giving a break to the player will bring the best form of him again.

Van Gaal is aiming for the January window due to the major injury blows in key players.

“We have a lot of contact injuries and long-lasting injuries. That’s our problem. We are looking but it’s not so easy to buy players in January; it’s more difficult. We are looking but it’s not for sure.”

 

Back with a Bang for Manchester United?

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Manchester United avoided the same fate as Arsenal or Chelsea after they managed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League. It has been a tale of disappointment for English clubs in this season’s Champions League group stages. English clubs have already lost five games in the group stages and it looked like more was on the cards when Caligiuri opened the scoring for Wolfsburg in the fourth minute. United’s return to the prestigious European competition began with a disappointing defeat against PSV Eindhoven away from home. The team was looking forward to this home fixture in order to gain some form in Europe.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich are favourites to win the title according to football betting odds, but manager Louis Van Gaal spoke about United being capable of winning the title this season. On the evidence of their display against Wolfsburg, they will have to improve a lot in order to beat much better opposition in the latter stages. For the time being, qualifying to the last 16 has to be the main priority for the club. It is fast turning out into a difficult group with all teams level on points following match day 2. Anthony Martial has been in sparkling form since moving from Monaco, but his wait for a first Champions League goal for United goes on.

Against Wolfsburg, Martial was not spectacular and just about did the job. Despite winning three points, Van Gaal came up with the excuse of tiredness already hitting his team. United have had to reach this stage after having played qualifying matches. Juan Mata and Chris Smalling were

It remains to be seen if the Champions League exertions also put tremendous pressure on the team ahead of the game against Arsenal during the weekend. United finally moved back to the top spot after last week’s 3-0 win over Sunderland.

Will Van Gaal be able to drive United back to Europe

It is no secret that Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Unparalleled success in England, huge fan base and footprint all over the world and one of the best revenue earners in the game – name any parameter, Manchester United stay somewhere near the top. So, when they failed to qualify for Europe last season, it sent shock waves around the club.

But, what it also did is to reduce the interest in Champions League this season. The numbers may not be out or they may not tell the same story. But, experts, fans and players alike agree to the fact that Champions League isn’t the same without powerhouse United. And that exactly is the reason why Louis van Gaal arrived at the club.

The mandate for the Dutch strategist is simple; get United into Champions League. Money was flashed and players of the highest pedigree (read Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo) arrived. The weight of expectations was always going to be a precursor to how it will pan out for van Gaal; and the start was definitely tough.

With the business end of the season approaching, United are yet to convince of progress made. They are not challenging for honors – theoretically they are still in the race but van Gaal will be the first to admit that United won’t win Premier League this season. Pragmatically, van Gaal is more worried about staying in the top four when the last day of the season comes.

Now, let’s look at the chances of Red Devils finishing in the Champions League qualification places. On current form and positions, Chelsea and Manchester City look all but nailed with their qualification to Europe. They are of course the only two of the top four fighting for the title. That leaves with only two places up for grabs.

Southampton, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are fighting for those two places. We can safely write off the chances of Tottenham Hotspur though they are still with a sniffing chance. Liverpool is currently in the midst of a great run of games having not lost since December. The next round against Manchester City could well be the ‘make or break’ game for them; though they will still have time and games to catch up.

Arsenal always finds time and points at the right time to end up qualifying for Europe. They never seem to compete for trophies (at least not in the recent memory) but scratch their way to top four. With a not-so-bad set of matches waiting for them in the run-in, Arsenal have more than a chance to continue their record of Champions League qualification.

Southampton is the surprise package of the season and may well continue to baffle experts; because of their easy fixtures list. That leaves van Gaal, with a not-so-favorable fixtures list, stretching every bit of his players to make sure of European qualification. Will he be able to do, is a question that will run to full house the rest of the season.

Marquinhos is still a target

It is common knowledge that Manchester United are in the market for a quality defender. And equally common knowledge is the fact that they were after the PSG defender Marquinhos. The defender is still pursued vigorously by the club despite the reluctance of PSG.

There were attempts made in the winter transfer market to land the Brazilian by United. But, the French club kept reiterating that they would not let the player leave and join United.

Marquinhos is one of the highly rated youngsters in the world. At just 20 years old, the central defender has shown versatility by playing at right-back. He has already shown great promise at PSG where he enjoyed two impressive seasons.

Marquinhos already had a promising deal in his resume when he joined PSG in the summer of 2013. Only 19 then, the Brazilian is singed in a deal that is thought to have approached £30 million.

Louis van Gaal is trying to bolster his options in defence by signing quality young players. And, Marquinhos obviously fits the bill. He is being closely monitored with a view to bid again in summer.

PSG knocked back the advances of United because they view the young center back as the long-term mainstay of their defence. The Parisian club does not wish to sell the defender but are aware and wary of the growing and sustained interest from the most successful club in England.

The club already went public with their view that if United want to buy Marquinhos, they may have to make him the costliest defender. If reports from France are to be believed, the defender is happy to remain at the club. And the club is impressed with his attitude to training, dedication and skill he brings to the team.

However, there are as many sources that point to increased interest in Marquinhos from many clubs across Europe. This was obviously seen as a ploy to force PSG into offering improved terms to the player as the talks are still ongoing between the club and player.

There’s a catch to the entire situation, though. PSG will look to bolster their squad in the summer to mount a serious challenge in Europe. But, the demands of Financial Fair Play may force them to sell players first before buying any.

If that is the case, then PSG may be forced to sell the best of their assets; none more suited than Marquinhos that fits the bill. Though the Brazilian is currently considered indispensable, a world record bid may force their hand.

United are under no financial pressure, thanks to their continuous increase in the sponsors. Add to it the fact that Premier League clubs will tap into a £5 billion jackpot from 2016, we have a scenario where United will have huge money pool to dip into.

This only strengthens the position of Manchester United in landing the defender. The fact that Marquinhos is not playing his favored central defensive role may play a significant role. One way or the other, United will force PSG to play its hand.

How does Louis Van Gaal’s start at Manchester United compare with Moyes?

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As the second international break of the 2014/2015 season allows Louis Van Gaal’s stars to travel across the world to represent their country in friendlies and Euro 2016 qualifiers, it provides the best opportunity for everyone to analyse how Manchester United have performed so far. Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford in the knowledge that he faced one of the biggest challenges in his illustrious 23-year managerial career, with his World Cup heroics with Holland counting for little if he was unable to inject fresh confidence and life into a squad which does not appear as formidable as it has done in the past.

Being in charge of such an illustrious club also comes with the pressure of producing instant results on the pitch, and while there appears to be signs of gradual improvement performance-wise, Van Gaal has yet to produce the real impact many fans were hoping for. Manchester United are not the type of club to sack managers at the drop of the hat, and even the legendary figure of Sir Alex Ferguson was given time to turn the club’s fortunes around following a difficult spell, but pressure is gradually building on the Dutchman’s shoulders to deliver the goods. Although United were backed to win the Manchester derby, the 1-0 defeat illustrated that Van Gaal is faring no better than David Moyes who made a better start to life in the hotseat.

Where Moyes comes out on top

Many fingers were pointed in Moyes’ direction following his inability to put his ideas across to the players in a job that some argued was too big for him, but he may be justified in feeling let down by his players who performed well below their high standards throughout the forgettable 2013/2014 campaign. His disappointing spell at Manchester United does not make Moyes a bad manager overnight, and his return to football management with La Liga side Real Sociedad could be the best move to reignite his promising managerial career.

One achievement that Moyes can attest to is that he enjoyed a better start to the season than Van Gaal has, with recent statistics proving that the Scot comes out in top in almost every department. Prior to Manchester United’s fixture against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Moyes had recorded 17 points at the same point of the season after 10 games – 4 more than Van Gaal has managed. The current manager has only enjoyed 3 Premier League victories compared to Moyes’ 5, and seen his team score one fewer with 16 despite spending almost £150 million during this summer’s transfer window. Moyes also comes out on top in terms of shots on target (48.15% to 43.93% under Van Gaal) and tackles won (84.43% to 73.26%), with one fewer goal conceded (13) and no red cards, indicating that Manchester United were more disciplined and better in defence. The only statistic which Van Gaal comes out on top in is pass completion rate with 85.83% slightly ahead of Moyes’ 84.43%; for the considerable outlay Manchester United made during the summer compared to the £27.5 million spent by Moyes on Marouane Fellaini, many would have expected United to fare much better in all departments.

Why Van Gaal is not in the firing line

Rafael Benitez once famously said that “you can prove anything with facts,” and this may be the only saving grace that prevents Van Gaal from coming under fire in the media and from Manchester United fans. The Opta statistics may indicate that Manchester United performed better under Moyes, but there are numerous mitigating factors which hide behind the reasons why Van Gaal has not enjoyed the same success.

It could be argued that Moyes had a much stronger squad to work with, while Van Gaal joined during a summer when Manchester United had lost their entire defensive core. The loss of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra not only depleted the squad of defensive options, but also removed considerable experience and quality that Moyes was able to utilise during his first 10 games in charge. Moyes also inherited a squad that had just won the Premier League for the 20th time in their history, whereas Van Gaal had to pick up the pieces of a team low in confidence and form. The former Holland manager had no option but to spend a considerable amount of money in an effort to inject fresh quality throughout the team and make them formidable once again, although the only sticking point with the £149 million spent is why Van Gaal did not sign at least one commanding centre-back to eradicate Manchester United’s soft centre which continues to be exposed by every team they face.

There is no doubt that Van Gaal deserves time to implement his own tactics and stamp his own authority on the team to prove that statistic can often be misleading, but results have to improve – and quickly – before pressure begins to build.

Manchester United set for return to top table

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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ouis Van Gaal is in the hotseat and Manchester United are ready to return to a life of success after their worst season in two decades according to the Dutch manager.

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Van Gaal recently got the fans onside during his first press conference, declaring the Red Devils as the “biggest club in the world”.

It’s an argument that can be defended well, with 20 league titles, 11 FA Cups and three European Cups sitting in the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.

A season to forget

Manchester United endured a terrible season last year as David Moyes struggled to get to grips with the demands of the job left to him by the great Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson was a true master of the managerial craft, and while Moyes was a very good Premier League manager in his own right he was not able to deal with the enormity of his task in Manchester.

 

With Van Gaal now bedding in at United it is believed and widely expected that Manchester United will be back to something resembling their best this season.

With plenty more transfer news for Manchester United expected in the coming days and week’s why not visit Coral’s dedicated Premier League site, where you’ll find all the news on the Red Devils and more.

The rebuilding process

The Dutchman and most fans accept that the team needs a bit of a clearout and new signings are a must, but with Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera having arrived already the transfer front has looked promising so far for the Salford-based club.

Shaw is regarded as the next big thing in English football and the left-back will be confident of building on his learning at Southampton by becoming a better player at such a huge club like United.

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Herrera was a player that the club had chased earlier last season but were left red-faced when men purporting to be from United had claimed that a deal was done, which of course it wasn’t.

The Spanish midfielder will be hoped to add a little more skill and fervour to a midfield that was lacking last season.

A fresh impetus needed

As usual the summer sees plenty of rumours but the ones saying Van Gaal may be ready to clear out midfielders like Tom Cleverly, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young might not be too far from the truth.

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United clearly need some new players if they are to challenge again this season and getting rid of some players to free up room and funds for others is a must for Van Gaal.

With players including German superstar Mats Hummels and Chile’s Arturo Vidal reportedly on Manchester United’s radar the future certainly looks bright for the English powerhouse.