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Louis van Gaal: Selling players was more important than buying players

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said that the club’s success has not been due to the big signings made this summer, but instead due to the large amount of departures

The 64-year-old manager released many players following his first season at the English club. Amongst the players were Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie. This season, United started off slowly with a lack of goals but have turned things around in recent weeks. The team finally looks like they are clicking well, but the injury to Luke Shaw has hurt the backline’s fluid play.

“You need luck, but the balance of the team is better than last season. Because of that we need to win our games.

“We shall improve every week, yes. I don’t see it every week, but see that we are better as a team and a selection.

“I rotate more now because I can. Last year in my opinion I didn’t have the balance. I have let 20 or 25 players go. So it’s a new team.”

United’s team looks like an entire different side than the 2013 title-winning side in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season. There are only a handful of returning players in the squad, including Wayne Rooney, David de Gea and Michael Carrick. The growth of players like Chris Smalling has been instrumental to United as well as Smalling has been the team’s best defender this season other than the injured Shaw.

The balance in the team right now is brilliant. From the defence to the midfield to the forwards. With Smalling and Daley Blind to Juan Mata, Rooney, Memphis and Anthony Martial, the chemistry is finally together and players are working as units. Carrick, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera have all been impressive this season as well and are vital to the team’s performances. There are backups for virtually every player and in most cases the quality does not drop off with a substitution.

Van Gaal’s relationships with his players are extremely important for the Dutchman and he says that it influences the way the players act in the dressing room. Over the years, ex-players have criticized Van Gaal but many still praise him. He says that the players are the ones that are important and that if they want to leave, they can. This was seen with Di Maria and Van Persie as both left the club for Paris Saint-Germain and Fenerbahce, respectively. Van Gaal spoke about his relationships with his players:

“The manager has influence, but the players much more.

“They have to build up a structure in the dressing room and that’s really important. They have to accept that structure.

“That is why I do that every season – every season I shall do that – because I think we need that new stimulus.”

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