Jul 13, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
The Netherlands’ adventure in Brazil has come to an end, with the Dutch triumphantly sealing third-place — a much higher World Cup finish than most predicted prior to the start of the tournament.
For Manchester United fans, Holland’s trip has been bittersweet. On one hand, they saw plenty to be excited about in their new manager. Louis van Gaal showed a willingness to adapt tactically, spoke frankly to the press and played a little mind game by bringing in Tim Krul just before the penalty shootout with Costa Rica. On the other hand, the Dutch foray deep into the tournament meant a delay in van Gaal arriving in Manchester.
Not that it’s seemed to hurt United’s dealings in the transfer market. They’ve already snapped up Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, and are hoping to add Arturo Vidal, Ángel di María and Mats Hummels. Even with Arjen Robben announcing he won’t be following van Gaal to Manchester, the new manager does not seem concerned about bringing in new quality signings.
Instead, van Gaal is focused on the idea of the team, rather than the high-profile player. He wants his United squad to emulate his Dutch one, at least in terms of unity.
“I hope the group in Manchester will become like this one,” said van Gaal. “We have to sing from the same hymn sheet.”
In Euro 2012, Netherlands crashed out in the group stages, a crushing disappointment for a side that, two years earlier, had made it to the World Cup final. In much the same manner, Manchester United finished seventh in the Premier League last season, after winning the title in 2012-2013. Obviously van Gaal hopes he can have the same sort of success at Old Trafford:
“I hope at Manchester United I can do my best,” he said. “I will do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans I will wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”
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