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Van Gaal: United have to be like Netherlands

ESPN staff
July 14, 2014 « Scolari resigns as Brazil manager | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
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Louis van Gaal has told his Manchester United players to follow the example of the Netherlands if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season.

The Netherlands were given little hope of winning the World Cup in the build-up to the tournament but decimated defending champions Spain 5-1 in their opening game before narrowly missing out on reaching the final after a penalty shootout defeat to Argentina.

They ended their time in Brazil with a 3-0 win against the hosts in Saturday's third-place play-off with Van Gaal now taking up the reins at Old Trafford this week.

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United fly out for their pre-season tour of America on July 19 and Van Gaal wants his players to "sing from the same hymn sheet" as the Dutch did in Brazil.

"I hope my new group in Manchester will be just like this one," said Van Gaal. "We set an objective and we believed in that objective. We wanted first place.

"And really we were very, very close to doing that - only penalties stopped us.

"Not to be able to achieve that objective was so disappointing but we won third place, we got a medal which is fantastic.

"And we scored 15 goals in seven matches, so we can look back on a successful tournament and I'm just so proud of my players and my staff.

"Now the first thing we have to do at United is the same, to all start singing from the same hymn sheet. Then we'll see if we do that then all's well that ends well."

After a dismal campaign that saw the club finish seventh in the Premier League last season, United fans will be relishing Van Gaal's arrival given the way the Netherlands have performed in Brazil.

Van Gaal was also hailed for several tactical masterstrokes during the tournament, including bringing on Tim Krul for the penalty shootout in the quarter-final win against Costa Rica with the goalkeeper saving two spot-kicks.

However, Van Gaal was quick to warn that, just like with the Netherlands, even he can't make United unbeatable.

He added: "I couldn't do that with Ajax, I couldn't do that at Barcelona, I couldn't do that at Bayern Munich. Losing is part and parcel of the game.

"But I hope I can do my best, I will try to do my best at Manchester United. Whether that is enough for the fans there. I genuinely hope it will."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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