Champions League draw: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reveals he won't watch draw because he's going to a reserves game

Van Gaal will instead watch a United Reserves game against Ajax where a number of first-team fringe players will be in action

Click to follow

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.


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.”