Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal discovers harsh reality after Swansea loss – and there’s no quick fix

August 17, 2014

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“It risked being lost in all the debris of an opening-day defeat for Louis van Gaal, and amid the understandable calls for urgent reinforcements, but Manchester United’s new manager kept returning to a vital theme, namely the need for players to be ‘not only running, but also to use your brain’. Welcome to England, where physics is still one of the main sciences. Van Gaal spoke after this deserved 2-1 loss to Swansea City about players making poor choices in their decision-making, especially in the first half. He also wrote in the programme about ‘I always train in the brains and not in the legs,’ adding, most pertinently, about an issue he had noted in training that ‘a lot of players are playing intuitively but they have to think’.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Louis van Gaal endures Manchester United debut to forget
“It is a new season with a new manager but for Manchester United fans the 2014-15 campaign began in all-too familiar fashion – a depressing home defeat. ‘Things can only get better’ and ‘King Louis is here – United are back’ was the message on some of the many scarves and T-shirts on sale outside Old Trafford on Saturday showing United’s new boss Louis van Gaal’s face as their main design feature. Sadly for the United supporters who saw their side suffer seven home league defeats last season, Swansea would prove those statements to be mostly inaccurate, for now at least.” BBC

Van Gaal needs reinforcements
“Over to you, Ed Woodward. Time is slipping away; there are 16 days left of the transfer window. Manchester United’s opening defeat to Swansea City offered almost indelible proof that the club no longer has the personnel to compete to win the Premier League. Louis van Gaal had warned that these things will take time. David Moyes, watching in a Doha TV studio, ought to have allowed himself some schadenfreude towards the executive vice-chairman who sacked him in April. Indeed, the former Old Trafford boss urged time for his successor.” ESPN


Managers Provide Drama as English Fans Lament Talent Drain

August 17, 2014

“The most popular soccer league in the world began its season on Saturday, and along with the excitement and exhilaration about the games themselves — not to mention the sheer wonderment over the eye-crossing suit that the golfer Rory McIlroy chose to wear while parading his British Open trophy around Old Trafford in Manchester — there was a fair bit of hand-wringing from many longtime observers of England’s Premier League.” NY Times


Your Team-by-Team Guide to the 2014/15 Bundesliga Season

August 17, 2014

“The 52nd Bundesliga season starts on August 22nd in Munich when the defending champs Bayern take on VfL Wolfsburg in the season opener. Are you ready for the season? Maybe die Nationalmannschaft winning the World Cup in Brazil this summer makes you hungry for more deutsch Fußball, but you don’t know where to start. Sure, you recognize Bayern’s name, and probably those of Dortmund, Schalke or even Leverkusen, but Paderborn? Freiburg? Augsburg?” Soccer Pro


Daniel Sturridge strikes to give Liverpool lift-off against Southampton

August 17, 2014

“The winning goal brought Brendan Rodgers bounding on to the pitch for the first time since Liverpool’s victory over Manchester City during last season’s title run-in. Relief, not delirium, sparked the Liverpool manager’s invasion on this occasion but the over-exuberance was understandable. Here was a reminder of how that title challenge began. For Southampton at Anfield in August 2014, read Stoke City at Anfield in August 2013. Twelve months ago Liverpool laboured to three points against a team under new management courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge goal and an 89th minute penalty save from Simon Mignolet. The script remained the same for Ronald Koeman’s first day as a Premier League manager. A poacher’s goal from Sturridge plus a sublime 88th-minute stop from Mignolet, who tipped Morgan Schneiderlin’s goal-bound volley on to the bar to preserve a slender lead, left Southampton lamenting undeserved defeat.” Guardian