Louis van Gaal: Manchester United boss reveals that being a 'slow player' made him a better manager on warts and all documentary

Van Gaal featured in a documentary for MUTV called 'Louis van Gaal: My Life. My Philosophy'

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The Independent Football

Louis van Gaal has revealed a fascinating insight into his managerial style, philosophy and long career in a new 90-minute documentary for MUTV.

The Manchester United manager, 63, has looked back at his long career for the club's in-house TV channel in a programme that aired on Monday night titled 'Louis van Gaal: My Life. My Philosophy'.

The Dutch coach appears with a host of current and former players including Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, as well as Barcelona legend Xavi and former Ajax star Ronald de Boer.

Looking back at his own playing career, Van Gaal admitted his failure at hometown club Ajax helped him to become a better manager and a smarter thinker - having spent his youth at the Amsterdam club he never made a single appearance for the first-team, moving around Belgium and the Netherlands in an unheralded career.

"I was a slow player so I had to think very quickly," he says. "That's why I developed a tactical level that suits me now as a trainer coach."

During the programme Van Gaal speaks at length about his philosophy and revealed that the players are finally getting to grips with it - comparing it to learning to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road in England for the first time.

"I attack in four phases and I defend in four phases and I think the players know everything about the philosophy but now they have to perform," he said.

"'It's like somebody coming to England like Louis van Gaal who has to drive with the steering at the other side.

"You have to learn that. I could have forced many accidents but I was fortunate I didn't do that. I was lucky but it was always going better so I don't have to warn people in my neighbourhood!'"

United striker Van Persie said to play for the Dutchman fitness is the first priority.

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Van Gaal says his players are finally understanding his philosophy

"To play for him you have to be really fit," said the striker. "What he asks from players is not what other coaches ask from other players.

"He can be emotional and that's what I like. Everyone can have a good day or a bad day and he's no different."

United captain Wayne Rooney added:"I think he is someone you can trust. That's a really good quality."

Van Gaal handed his debut to Barcelona captain Xavi when he was still a teenager - the Spanish legend says Van Gaal was unfairly treated at the Nou Camp.

"He pushed me into the first team at 17," said Xavi. "He helped me so much through that difficult journey. In my opinion he did not get the credit he deserved at Barcelona.

"He was a coach who was ahead of his time."

Speaking about Manchester United, Van Gaal has been hugely impressed with the support he has received, especially during his tough start to the campaign.

"The first feeling I had was especially after 11 matches when we had 13 points and I came in the stadium and I thought the fans shall not be pleased," he said. "The fans rose and clapped me when I entered. Now I see the greatness of the club."

Manchester United face Aston Villa at home on Saturday.

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