Manchester United legend Mike Duxbury says that Louis van Gaal’s performances in the World Cup will only serve to heighten excitement and expectation among supporters.
Van Gaal’s Holland team made it to the Semi Finals – where they face Argentina tomorrow night – after a dramatic Quarter Final with Costa Rica. The new United manager made a bold choice by bringing on goalkeeper Tim Krul in the closing seconds of extra time, with penalties on the horizon, and it proved the difference as Krul saved two penalties.
“To do that was a hell of a decision,” says Duxbury. “It was unbelievable and shows the impact psychological decisions can make at the highest level. For United fans, they must be sat thinking he’s incredible, and rightly so… even he has admitted that this isn’t a great Holland team and he’s took them further than most people would have thought they would get. Although maybe they would have liked him back sooner considering they’ve started training already! Everyone knows his record and what he’s done before, but I only really paid a particular interest in him since United were linked with him and then appointed him… I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen so far. He’s been the outstanding manager at the World Cup – his decisions have stood out.”
Van Gaal has wasted no time, signing Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, and Duxbury believes that it’s a step in the right direction. “I’m not being unkind – I’m not saying just anyone coming in would have made the difference, and we certainly know that Herrera and Shaw have a lot of quality, but I think everyone knows that we could probably do with another couple of players in there as well,” he said. “I’m sure he will do – there’s a lot of experience to replace in there.”
Duxbury believes there has been little in the way of teams that have stood out in Brazil. “As well as Van Gaal has done, it’s difficult to say that Holland will go through against Argentina, but then it’s difficult to say the other way too because neither were convincing in the last round,” says the former United defender. “After Neymar’s injury, I wouldn’t like to put money on Brazil to go through either. Germany, I fancy to go through tonight, but they weren’t particularly good against France. I know a lot of people were saying this would be the best World Cup ever but although there have been some great goals and good performances, for me, Mexico 1970 remains the best World Cup.”