The Dutch coach is famed for his discipline and tough stance on players’ application and behaviour on and off the pitch and has garnered a reputation as a dictator over the years but the 62-year-old has revealed who was his role model and where he gets his attitude from.
“My father had the same character as I have,” he said. “He had an open mind. He listened and had the courage to make decisions that were difficult to accept for some. He was a leader figure.”
His late father had a huge impact on his development as a child, as did his mother of whom he later said he inherited his values of honesty, respect, discipline and reason.
Louis van Gaal had the opportunity to work under and alongside some of the game’s greatest practitioners in the likes of Leo Beenhakker, Guy Thys, and Bobby Robson but his words suggest it was his childhood memories of his parents that made him the character he is today at Old Trafford.
The Netherlands coach has had run-ins with a number of high-profile figures in football throughout his career, including Rivaldo and the Spanish press during his time at Barcelona, newly appointed Southampton manager Ronald Koeman during his return to Ajax, and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho who was his former assistant at the Camp Nou.
Although his career has been one characterised by audacity and controversy throughout, there is little doubt that his fundamental belief in his ideas leads him to success wherever he travels.
Whilst he has rarely responded positively to the questioning of his authority, he has by now surely earned the right to dictate how he wants to proceed at Manchester United and, so far so good, it appears the club, the players and the staff are on board and backing him all the way.