Manchester United have confirmed that Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal will be taking over as manager after the World Cup, with club legend Ryan Giggs acting as his assistant.
As a result, the Red Devils can now be backed at 11/20 to qualify for the Champions League next season, a price that is very tempting given the fact that the Dutchman has never finished outside the top two in any of his first seasons in charge of a club during his 23-year managerial career.
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Here are the three finest first campaigns Van Gaal has enjoyed in management:
The Catalan club were top of the Primera Liga every week of the season bar four, never falling below second.
Nine points separated Barca from second place Athletic Bilbao at its conclusion and, in a textbook demonstration of locating the apex of the cake and securely positioning a cherry there, the Blaugrana also recorded a Clasico double, scoring six goals against Real Madrid in their two meetings.
Bayern Munchen 2009/10
Only four league foes bested the Bavarians during Van Gaal’s title-winning first term in charge, in which he also guided FCB to the Champions League final.
Multiple trophies were still squeezed into the cavern under the Allianz where Bayern store their ever-growing heap of trophies despite this setback, with a 15th German Cup triumph overseen by the Dutchman.
Not until 1993/94 did de Godenzonen win a first Eredivisie crown under Van Gaal’s guidance, but they did bag the Europa League, or UEFA Cup as it was then known, in his first season sampling soccer management.
An away goals victory over Torino brought the first of a landslide of trophies for the 62-year-old.