Daley Blind: honesty of Louis van Gaal can be frightening, but I like it

The Netherlands international made a quick impression against QPR on Sunday

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The Independent Football

Daley Blind highlighted the burgeoning team spirit at Manchester United and the honesty of Louis van Gaal as the elements behind the feel-good factor sweeping back into Old Trafford.

Blind, a key figure in Sunday’s 4-0 hammering of Queen’s Park Rangers that earned United their first Premier League victory of the season, looked like he had been in the side all his life when, in fact, he was one of three debutants, alongside Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao, in a radically revamped squad.

“When I came here there was a really warm welcome and I felt directly good in the team,” Blind said. “Also, Robin [van Persie] helped me a lot because I know him from the Dutch squad but also from the other guys who came in straight away. Everybody wants to fight for each other and I think we saw that in this game. Everyone wants to give the ball to each other and I like to play in this squad.”

A graduate of the Ajax academy in Amsterdam, the versatile Blind, who is equally happy in midfield or defence, credited Ajax coach Frank de Boer for his development as a player but said he had learnt much from Van Gaal during the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifying campaign and insisted the manager was friendlier than appearances suggest.

“He is not frightening, he is just honest. That can be frightening, but I like it. He is very honest to everybody, he knows what he wants and he knows his philosophy. He can bring that to the players and he can make a team with everybody in. That is a good start for everybody if you want to work for each other.

“I have really learnt a lot and like working under him. I think he can make me a better player in terms of positioning, where to stand and tactics in games because midfield is an important position to play and I hope I can get better at it every day.”

United’s failure to qualify for Europe this season was an unexpected blow to esteem as well as revenue, but Blind believes the extra time on the training pitch will benefit a squad blending six new players into a changed system.

“I have only played in the Dutch league and in international football, but I think the Premier League is a higher level and it is a higher speed in the game. You don’t know what to expect beforehand, but it was a really good day [against QPR] and I really enjoyed it. I think it was a good win also for the team.


“It was a bit different because the opponent was going back so I had a lot of space to control the ball. When we lost the ball we went as a team after the ball and won it a lot. We can grow every week and we have to keep a good feeling until next week and get a good result then.”

Falcao, who came off the bench in the second half, shared Blind’s delight. “It felt good to make my debut here, at Old Trafford, and I am happy to get the win,” the striker said. “I am enjoying this moment. It is an extraordinary stadium, a legendary stadium. Bit by bit we will gel together as a team and the new players will feel more comfortable. I hope everything continues for us like it has done today.”