Louis van Gaal insists he will rule Manchester United democratically as the new Old Trafford boss bids to restore “the biggest club in the world” to their former glory.
Van Gaal arrives at fallen giants United with a well-earned reputation as tough taskmaster during a glittering coaching career which has included spells at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
But when he met the world’s media for the first time as United manager on Thursday, the 62-year-old Dutchman was adamant different aspects of his personality have made him successful rather than the hard-line approach that is frequently focused on.
“I am a democratic, empathetic human being,” Van Gaal said. “Of course I have a strong personality but the other characteristics are more important. And that’s the key of my personality.
“My reputation for being autocratic? It’s unfair. Because of the media. They want to show that part of the personality.
“Part of the personality is like this. But when you repeat that always everyone thinks like that.
“There is a lot of expectation, but also a great challenge because of that and therefore I have chosen for this club. I worked for Barcelona, the number one team in Spain in my opinion.
“I have coached Ajax, number one in the Netherlands. And I have coached Bayern Munich, the number one in Germany.
“And now I am with Manchester United who are the number one in England. I hope I shall fulfil the expectation, which shall be difficult.”
Van Gaal, who guided the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup, would not give an exact prediction on where he expected United to finish in the Premier League in the coming season following their woeful seventh place last term.
However, he did acknowledge there is significant weight of expectation at Old Trafford and claimed his personal goal throughout management was always to finish at the top.
“For me, the challenge is always first and not fourth,” van Gaal said. “But when you have to analyse after one season, it depends on click between the players and the manager. I will do my utmost best. That’s what I can give. I cannot give predictions because you never know. It’s the biggest club in the world. Within two days I know how important Manchester United is.”