Louis van Gaal is currently soaking up the plaudits for staying true to his word and leading Manchester United back to the Champions League, but the manager won't even watch the draw to find out who his side will face.
That’s because the Dutchman is more interested in watching a behind-closed-doors reverse game against Ajax, in which eight of his first-team squad members will feature in a bid to convince Van Gaal why they should step-up to his staring XI.
Van Gaal returns from Belgium with an impressive 7-1 aggregate victory over Club Brugge in the Champions League play-offs, which was made all the more welcome by Wayne Rooney’s return to form with a hat-trick in Wednesday night’s 4-0 second-leg success.
Club Brugge 0 Manchester United 4 player ratings
Club Brugge 0 Manchester United 4 player ratings
1/13 Sergio Romero
His smart reflexes to whip the ball off Diaby’s feet maintained United’s first half lead when it was under greatest threat in his only major action. 6
2/13 Matteo Darmian
Has already established himself as a hugely reliable defender and the Italian quickly moved to lock down the right flank. 6
3/13 Chris Smalling
Struggled in the air against the tall and strong De Sutter but continues to be pass the ball smartly and lead a backline he has only recently established himself in. 6
4/13 Daley Blind
As composed as he is on the ball he looks nervy when his opponents attack him. He nearly let Brugge back into the tie with a careless header in the first half and was lucky his opponents merely focused on stopping the rout in the second period. 6
5/13 Luke Shaw
An excellent display by the left-back, who defended well but was even more effective in attack, creating several chances early on. 7
6/13 Ander Herrera
An early booking kickstarted a horror-show of a first-half for the returning midfielder. It didn’t get much better than when he fell over the ball, but he recovered well in the second, getting an assist and a goal before being substituted. 6
7/13 Michael Carrick
A solid, calm presence on a night where, early on, United could have given in to nerves when Brugge pressed high. His distribution from deep was as excellent as ever. 6
8/13 Juan Mata
Though his eagerness to pass rather than shoot gave Rooney chances to add to his tally it also made the attacker a touch too predictable, with Brugge able to give him space in shooting positions. Very good, but you still sense he could be better with more goalscoring drive. 7
9/13 Adnan Januzaj
Did little wrong but as his half-time substitution confirmed he did little right either. 6
10/13 Memphis Depay
Looked as full of attacking enthusiasm as he had been in the previous match and played a key role in the important first two goals. 7
11/13 Wayne Rooney
Exploited a tired home side eager to get off the pitch to build some valuable confidence. His first goal opened the floodgates, though don’t get carried away when Brugge’s defence were shattered in the second half. 8
12/13 Bastien Schweinsteiger
Brought on to shut down the tie but soon embraced the counter-attacking opportunities his hosts provided him. His through-ball for Herrera’s goal was spectacular but he nearly trumped it with a delicate chip that floated just wide. 7
13/13 Javier Hernandez
His chance to impress Van Gaal will be defined by a slip when taking a penalty, but don’t forget missing an open goal too. His confidence at United seems irretrievably damaged. 3
But while the rest of Europe goes crazy for the draw that will reveal the eight Champions League groups – which will take place later today – Van Gaal has no interest in watching because he cannot have a direct influence on proceedings.
“I shall watch the second team because eight players of mine play against Ajax and I think that's more important because I cannot do anything to have any influence in the draw,” Van Gaal told reporters after the victory in Brugge.
The 64-year-old was also quick to praise his players for beginning to show signs that they were buying into his “philosophy”, which the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich has made no secret of implementing into the team since arriving last summer.
“We were very well organised and played the ball a little bit more simple than before. And, we created more and scored - that's also good,” he added.
He also lavished praise on his captain, Wayne Rooney, and having defender him in midweek following a 10-game goal drought, felt vindicated in his staunch defence of the England international earlier this week.
Rooney scored three times to confirm United’s passage into Pot 2 of the group stage draw, and he even gave fellow striker Javier Hernandez the chance to open his account for the season in the form of a penalty – which the Mexican international promptly sent wide of the goal.
“Of course, every goal shall give confidence to every player so also to Wayne. I am very happy for him, he was generous to give the penalty to Chicha (Javier Hernandez) - I haven't seen the images, but I think he slipped.
“Rooney has the best mentality that you could imagine and such players at that level shall always come back.”
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