Game Details
By ESPN Staff

Van Gaal was close to taking Spurs job

Louis van Gaal, pictured here at Old Trafford with Bayern Munich in 2010, could be confirmed as Man Utd's new manager next week.
At his latest press conference, new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said he almost took the job with Tottenham because the team was a favorite of his as a child.

Incoming Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal admitted he was close to taking the managerial position with Tottenham Hotspur before stepping into the role at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal again avoided questions about his upcoming job at Manchester United, but he did admit he came 'very close' to taking over as Tottenham boss, after revealing he was a Spurs fan in his youth.

"It was very close, very close," stated Van Gaal at a press conference in Amsterdam. "As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion. Jimmy Greaves was my idol. They had fantastic white shirts. So I was very close."

Van Gaal also said that he likes to maintain close relationships with his players and will try to do so at Old Trafford even though he has something of a reputation for being a confrontational leader.

Several players who have worked under Van Gaal during his lengthy coaching career, have suggested he can be a difficult man to get along with. But the 62-year-old says he likes to forge close bonds with the players under his command.

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However, the Holland boss, who will take over at United when his commitments at this summer's World Cup finals come to an end, insists his image as something of a fearsome character is not entirely justified.

"I am a coach who wants a good relationship with my players, I think it is very important," he told reporters at a press conference in Amsterdam.

"I do everything to reach that level, but sometimes it is not reachable as the players are not open-minded and don't adapt to the norms that I put in the team.

"Most of the players say lovely things about me. There are also players who are very angry with me -- Franck Ribery, Luca Toni, Hristo Stoichkov and Rivaldo."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal has admitted he is disappointed his Holland team will not come up against Real Madrid star Gareth Bale and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in their World Cup warm-up match against Wales on Wednesday. The Holland coach admitted he was looking forward to facing the duo.

"I have said to my board (Dutch FA) that they had to insist on playing against Gareth Bale and Ramsey, but this can happen in football," he added, referring to the decision to set-up the friendly game against Wales.

"I don't know why, whether it is injury or holidays. When it is a holiday I am a little bit disappointed, but I can understand it because Bale has a difficult, but also impressive, season under his belt.

"It's better that we have the best team of Wales because we need resistance. I think Wales without these players are weaker, but I have seen Wales play, against Iceland and Finland, and I like the way that they play. It's not a bad team, but with Bale it is always better, with Ramsey also."


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