Louis van Gaal has walked out at Old Trafford for the first time as Manchester United manager, with his side facing Valencia tonight in their final pre-season match.
Writing in his first programme notes, the Dutchman spoke of his excitement at the ‘special moment’, while moving to praise the team’s performances during their recent tour of the USA, ahead of his Premier League debut against Swansea next weekend.
‘I have been here before, of course, as a manager with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and I know just how difficult it is for visiting teams at Old Trafford,’ he said. ‘I am really looking forward to having you on the same side as my players.
'After tonight's game we will be fully concentrating on the start of the Premier League, which I am really looking forward to. I have managed in Spain and in Germany and in the Netherlands, so there was only one football country I wanted to see inside and that was England, because of the level of the Premier League and because of the atmosphere. I cannot wait to get started.
'I wanted to see an improvement in our performances as the tour went along, and that was mainly the case. In the first of the match against Liverpool, I must say that we were very weak, but the spirit of the team turned that around.
'The players wanted to show themselves as a team and that is very important for me. I could see winning that particular match brought a lot of pleasure to our fans, and I was pleased that we were able to make them happy.’