Manchester United Boss Louis Van Gaal Urges Victory Dreams
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says visualising winning in bed will help his team to more success.
United will make it eight wins from 10 matches if they beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, a match live on Sky Sports 1 from 12.30pm.
The idea of travelling to Staffordshire for a lunch-time kick-off on New Year's Day may not appeal to some, but Van Gaal is relishing the opportunity of gaining ground on Manchester City and Chelsea who play Sunderland and Tottenham respectively later in the day.
The Dutchman has insisted his players need to focus only on their own jobs and not worry about their Premier League title rivals.
“You have to always do it by yourself and not depend on results of the opponent,” the United manager said.
“You have to be busy with yourself, with your preparation, and the imagination of the game. All the players have to do that – dream of the game already, you have to play the game already in your bed.”
Although United sit in third position after a nine-match unbeaten run, Van Gaal has been far from satisfied with his team's performances this season, although he admitted only one match stands out during his 27-year career.
Reflecting on Ajax's 2-0 Champions League win at Real Madrid 20 years ago when he coached the Dutch team containing Edwin van der Saar, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert, Van Gaal said: “That was a perfect game – the only one in my eyes.
“I have not achieved that with Manchester United.”
The fact that United dropped points at Tottenham thanks to Hugo Lloris' brilliance, and at Villa Park, where the hosts played the final 25 minutes with 10 men, still rankles with Van Gaal.
“In the last three games – Aston Villa, Newcastle, Tottenham – we should have had nine points,” the former Barcelona manager added.
“Then, we would have four more points and we would be only six points [behind Chelsea].”
Reflecting on his first five months in England, Van Gaal said he had been taken aback by the support he had received from United fans despite the club's stuttering start.
“I have never had the experience that when you lose or draw at home that the fans still applaud you, showing their belief in you. Never,” Van Gaal said.
“In Barcelona, (they wave) white handkerchiefs. In Bayern, they whistle. In Amsterdam, Ajax, they are shouting for someone else. Here, they stand up, and applaud. Unbelievable. That's why I'm thanking the fans because they were very important in my first six months.”