Manchester, United Kingdom – Louis van Gaal claims balancing Manchester United's commercial ambitions with their desire for success on the field will be one of his biggest challenges at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal was officially unveiled as United's new manager at Old Trafford on Thursday and, speaking at his first press conference, the Dutchman emphasised that he understood the extra responsibilities that come with managing a club of United's global stature.
United will shortly undertake a pre-season tour of the United States and, without European football next season, the Premier League giants may be tempted to play exhibition friendly matches during the quiet periods of the season to generate extra revenue.
“This club is also guided in the commercial way and we have to fulfil that also,” Van Gaal said.
“That is not always possible, to fulfil the commercial expectations or the football expectations. That is my biggest challenge after two weeks.
“Maybe it will change after the US tour. I don't know, but I don't think so. This is the biggest club because it is known worldwide.
“It's a club that is well known all over the world. When I was in China, or now in Brazil people are talking about Manchester United. That's the difference.
“There is a lot of expectation, but also a great challenge because of that and therefore I have chosen this club.”
Van Gaal confirmed he will not hesitate to speak to former United manager Alex Ferguson, with whom he already has a solid relationship and a great admiration, about the club.
“Sir Alex has a strong philosophy. He was always confirming that because he won a lot of titles with Manchester United,” Van Gaal said.
“I think he has a good philosophy. I hope I can do that and start with philosophy.
“He called me to congratulate me and when we have spoken about a coffee to drink, or to eat. We were always invited to the elite forum of UEFA. We always had a glass of wine.
“So we know each other very well and I shall drink coffee and drink wine with him. Maybe the better wine I can imagine!”
Van Gaal insisted that his initial remit at Old Trafford will be to make United's first team successful rather than a broader mandate to change the overall setup of the club, including the youth sides.
“The main project is the first team,” he said. “The first team is more short term than the youth education which is long term.
“The first two years we have to separate them. Because now I need all my knowledge to transfer my philosophy into this selection.
“You have to give me time to do that. Not only you, but the chief executive and the owners.”
Van Gaal indicated he would find room in his backroom staff for some of United's former players from the 'class of 1992' including Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, who led the Netherlands to a third place finish at the World Cup in Brazil, has not yet made a decision of whether compatriot Robin van Persie or fellow striker Wayne Rooney will be appointed as the club's new captain.
Van Gaal was also dealt a blow before the Premier League season has even started after England midfielder Michael Carrick was ruled out for up to three months with ankle ligament damage. – Sapa-AFP