Quick links

Tottenham Hotspur

Top five reasons why Spurs are better off without Van Gaal

Incoming Manchester United boss has admitted he was "very close, very close” to joining Tottenham Hotspur after the World Cup.

As reported in The Independent, the Netherlands head coach said: "As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion. Jimmy Greaves was my idol, so I was very close."

Despite Tottenham frustrated at missing out on their number one target, is it possible the North London club have actually swerved a bullet by the Dutchman's decision to replace David Moyes at Manchester Utd rather than take up the reigns at White Hart Lane.

Spurs fans may feel they've lost out, but after the recent appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, here's five reasons why Spurs are better off without Van Gaal.

He creates divisions in the dressing room

Van Gaal is well known throughout Europe for his, shall we say, uncompromising style of management. The Dutch coach regularly falls out with players and can create disharmony within a dressing room. It's well documented that Van Gaal fell out with star players Luca Toni at Bayern and Rivaldo at Barcelona.

Sometimes as a manager you have to make tough decisions and discipline even your best players, but his reckless nature and demanding methods may rub too many players up the wrong way and have a negative effect on performances.

His recent record isn't that great

Not since his glory days at Ajax and Barcelona in the 90's has Van Gaal created great sides. At Ajax he won three Eredivisie titles and the Champions League in 1995 with a young Ajax side that included future stars Edwin Van Der Sar, Clarence Seedorf and Edgar Davids. After that he moved to the Nou Camp in 1997 and went on to win La Liga but since then, his results have been increasingly average.

In his first stint as head coach of the Dutch national team, they failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. After that he returned to Barcelona but was fired in January 2003 with the club just three points above the relegation zone. He set about rebuilding his career and won another Eredivisie title with AZ Alkmaar in 2009, but despite taking Bayern to the Champions League final in 2010, it was by no means a great Bayern side.

He falls out with the press and club's hierarchy

The Dutchman is never afraid to say what's on his mind and famously fell out with the Spanish press while at Barcelona. Despite his success in Catalonia, he was criticised and eventually left, remarking "Amigos de la prensa. Yo me voy. Felicidades." (Friends of the press. I am leaving. Congratulations).

A decade later in Munich, he fell out with the notorious Bayern hierarchy when he dropped experienced goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt, for inexperienced youngster, Thomas Kraft. Bayern’s season nosedived and it gave the club's hierarchy - who weren't big fans of Van Gaal in the first place - the perfect opportunity to fire him. Uli Hoeness, the former club president, said once Butt was dropped it all “started to get messy”.

Van Gaal's outspoken manner probably wouldn't have gone down well with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, who has shown to be ruthless when it comes to managers. Missing out on Van Gaal has probably saved a big bust up and Spurs having to fork out for a large pay-off. 

Pochettino is proven in the Premier League

When Mauricio Pochettino took over from Nigel Adkins at Southampton in January 2013, the club looked destined for relegation but the Argentine successfully guided them to safety in his first four months in charge. During his first full season he helped the Saints finish a highly respectable eighth with his side winning plaudits for their attacking style of play.

He got the best out of young players Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez and managed to mix substance and style with great success. Compare this to Van Gaal who has no Premier League pedigree, the White Hart Lane outfit can relax knowing Pochettino has already proven himself in England.

Tottenham's players don't suit his 4-3-3 formation

Under Andre Villas Boas and interim manager Tim Sherwood, Tottenham played a 4-4-1-1 formation with varied success. The problem they would face is Van Gaal is a big fan of the 4-3-3 formation but currently, Spurs don't have the players to do that.

After last summer's wasteful spending of over £100 million, Levy and the club board might be unwilling to spend a lot on new players. Pochettino on the other hand played 4-4-1-1 at Southampton and has already shown what he can do with young players, good tactics and a low budget.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch