Former Liverpool fan favourite: Van Gaal is 'tactically, the best manager in the world'

Louis Van Gaal

Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has praised his Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal as the best manager in the world for his tactics.

Van Gaal, 62, is leading the Netherlands through the World Cup before becoming Manchester United boss, and Red Devils fans will have been eager to see how their new manager fared on the world's biggest stage. It's so far, so good for the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich man as his side have swept past Spain, Australia, Chile and Mexico on their way to a last eight clash against Costa Rica.

Many people have praised van Gaal throughout his career for being tactically outstanding, from his era-defining 3-4-3 with Ajax, to his 4-2-3-1 with Bayern Munich and now his 5-2-1-2 system with the Netherlands at the World Cup. Yet against Mexico, they were struggling massively, and it took a gamble from van Gaal to turn the game around.

Needing a goal at 1-0 down, van Gaal took off defender Stefan de Vrij for young winger Memphis Depay, as well the seemingly odd change to bring off star striker Robin van Persie for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, switching to a 4-2-3-1 and attacking down the flanks instead of through the middle.

It worked perfectly, as goals from Wesley Sneijder and a late penalty from Huntelaar gave them two goals to destroy Mexican hopes of finally making it past the last 16.

With more emphasis placed on Depay and Arjen Robben and a bigger striker on the field in Huntelaar, van Gaal completely shelved his original tactics in order to take advantage of some of the deficiencies in the Mexico defence - adaptability that will excite United fans.

And van Gaal has now been given a ringing endorsement from former Liverpool forward Kuyt. The former Reds fans favourite featured at left wing back and then right back as van Gaal tinkered with his team, and the 33-year-old says van Gaal is the best tactical manager in the world.

"He’s maybe the best tactically there is in the world,” said Kuyt. "It doesn’t matter what system we are playing the players know exactly what to do. He told us before the game already that we could switch system if we were 1-0 down. We switched to 4-3-3 then 15 minutes before the end of the game he decided to put an extra striker to play longer balls and looks for second balls and we managed to score a goal so his tactics were once again spot on," added the now-Fenerbahce man.

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