Louis van Gaal fans, all your Christmases have come at once. The Daily Telegraph have secured themselves an exclusive, bumper-length interview, which ranges widely across his upbringing, his methods, his opinions on the players, and plenty more. There's loads of good stuff — he reveals that this will be his last job, for example — but one point of particular interest is the insight into his preparation and methods.
He gives, essentially, a blow-by-blow rundown of how United prepare for a game. First, scouting:
The preparation starts with the scout, Paul Brand, who is analysing the opponent, who selects all the images with Marcel Bout, the [opposition] scout. Marcel Bout is always going [to watch the opposition] two weeks in front of the game, because then we are playing the same circumstances, at home or away.
Then Ryan Giggs is making a presentation for the players out of the images that Marcel Bout and Paul Brand have selected. Then we make a game-plan because of the analysis. Then we discuss the game-plan. The next day we have to present it to the players. Giggs is doing that. So, another meeting with the players. They have to look. We explain.
Then we go and train the game-plan 11 against 11. [...] Then we practise different patterns. We film the training session. The next meeting is the ‘unit meeting': we do defenders, midfielders and forwards. Albert has selected the images of the training but also former matches that explains more of our game-plan.
In the hotel we have a meeting — again — to give consciousness (understanding) to what we have to do. Then we have individual meetings. I especially have individual meetings with the players, in the hotel or in my office here. Not with every player — it depends on how they train, how they perform.
Then, the game:
I don't say anything, only one sentence before the match. Then half-time I say what we have to change, or what we have to improve, or I don't say anything because it was very good. It happens.
And finally, the wrap-up:
Then we have the evaluation. I was just coming now out of a meeting with my players. The evaluation is more long because there are more themes but the analysis is 20 minutes, 25 minutes sometimes. Again a meeting with the players. [...] They are not used to that. Most players are intuitive. I want it more with consciousness [awareness] that they are thinking, that they can make decisions on the pitch.They have to think for the team.
Seriously, though, go and read the whole thing. It's great.