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Aug 12, 2014

Van Gaal 'cannot wait' to open season

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal explains why he chose to hand the captain's armband to striker Wayne Rooney on a permanent basis.

Louis van Gaal got his first taste of matchday atmosphere at Old Trafford on Tuesday against Valencia.

Louis van Gaal has used his first programme notes as Manchester United manager to reveal he "cannot wait" to begin life in English football.

United kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea on Saturday, with Van Gaal making his Old Trafford bow for Tuesday's preseason friendly against Valencia.

- Mitten: Results will dictate the 'Van Gaal Effect'

"After tonight's game we will be fully concentrating on the start of the Premier League, which I am really looking forward to," Van Gaal wrote.

"I have managed in Spain and in Germany and in the Netherlands, so there was only one football country I wanted to see inside and that was England, because of the level of the Premier League and because of the atmosphere. I cannot wait to get started."

Van Gaal oversaw an unbeaten preseason tour of America with United coming back from a goal down to see off Liverpool 3-1 in the final of the International Champions Cup last week.

Second-half goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard cancelled out Steven Gerrard's penalty and Van Gaal revealed he knew how important the victory would be to the fans.

"I wanted to see an improvement in our performances as the tour went along, and that was mainly the case. In the first half of the match against Liverpool, I must say that we were very weak, but the spirit of the team turned that around," Van Gaal added.

"The players wanted to show themselves as a team and that is very important for me. I could see winning that particular match brought a lot of pleasure to our fans, and I was pleased that we were able to make them happy."

Van Gaal also spoke of his excitement over the "special moment" he will experience when he steps out at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.

"I am looking forward to walking out into the stadium as the manager of Manchester United, as I know it will be a special moment for me," Van Gaal said.

"I have been here before, of course, as a manager with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and I know just how difficult it is for visiting teams at Old Trafford. I am really looking forward to having you on the same side as my players."

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