By Andy Scott ,AFP
BRASILIA — Louis van Gaal is hoping he can replicate the team spirit that took the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup when he arrives at Manchester United. The Dutchman will take over as manager at Old Trafford with the challenge of getting the English giants back on track after a difficult last season under David Moyes that was marred by rumors of dressing-room unrest. But the 62-year-old should command the immediate respect of the United dressing room thanks to the Netherlands’ excellent showing in Brazil, due in large part to the team spirit that he forged. His decision to hand goalkeeper Michel Vorm a late appearance as a substitute in Saturday’s 3-0 third-place play-off win against Brazil in Brasilia means all 23 members of the Dutch squad played some part at the tournament. “There will always be a place in my heart for these 23 players,” said van Gaal, who will be replaced as Dutch coach by the returning Guus Hiddink.
“My players were great. I hope that the group in Manchester will become like this one because we have to read from the same hymn sheet. I hope I can get them to do that there.” Holland went unbeaten through qualifying and go home from Brazil undefeated too, with their semifinal exit against Argentina only coming after a penalty shoot-out, but van Gaal warned United supporters that they will inevitably find themselves on the losing side from time to time. “I couldn’t do it with Ajax, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. Losing is part of sport,” he said. “I just hope that at Manchester United I can do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans, we’ll have to wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”