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Louis van Gaal reveals his methods

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In an extensive interview, United's manager opens up about how he prepares the team for a game.

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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, training:

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.