After a battling draw against Premier League leaders Chelsea, the tough games continue this week for Manchester United with Louis van Gaal’s team facing near-neighbours City in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
United are now unbeaten in four and although they sit in eighth place, a win at the Etihad would see them just a point off Manuel Pellegrini’s defending champions, a team widely tipped to at finish in the top two.
Van Gaal was brought in to Old Trafford with a huge reputation as one of the best coaches in world football. While his early form was poor, recently United have looked strong and are now unbeaten in four games.
The Dutch coach, who has won seven league titles in three countries and took the Netherlands to the World Cup semi-final this summer, has a very strong record in derby matches.
Whether taking charge of De Klassieker (Ajax-Feyernoord), El Clasico (Barcelona-Real Madrid) or Der Klassiker (Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund), Van Gaal has not often been bested.
In 18 matches in charge of Ajax between 1991 and 1997, Van Gaal won 12 of the meetings between Ajax and Feyernoord, drawing four and losing just two. That record included two wins compared to one defeat in the KNVB Cup final.
Van Gaal lost just one of eight El Clasico matches he took charge of and in two spells from 1997-2000 and 2002-03, winning three of those, including two memorable 3-0 routs at the Nou Camp in 1998 and 1999 on the way to the Spanish titles.
The 63-year-old had a successful spell at AZ Alkmaar from 2005-09, but the Dutch club do not have traditional rivals in the same manner as his other clubs.
In two seasons at Bayern Munich, Van Gaal had a mixed record when facing Borussia Dortmund, winning two and losing two of his four matches; the two wins came in the 2009-10 season, when Bayern were close to completing the treble, while the two defeats came the next year when Jurgen Klopp’s young team won the Bundesliga.
With a total record of 17 wins, six draws and just seven defeats in 30 derby matches, Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City have cause for concern.Reuse content