Liverpool boss Rodgers warns Van Gaal and Man Utd
Dutch coach has enjoyed a good start with United, but will he be ready for the Premier League?
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Louis van Gaal not to expect instant success when his Manchester United side begin their Premier League campaign on Saturday week.
Confidence is high at Old Trafford that last season's disaster under David Moyes will prove just an aberration and memories of United's seventh place finish – their worse in the history of the Premier League – will be erased by Van Gaal.
The Dutchman, who took over this summer, has certainly got his United reign off to the best possible start, winning all five of the Red Devils' pre-season friendlies, including a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Sunday's International Champions Cup final in Miami.
Van Gaal was at pains to point out after that win that it would count for little unless United beat Swansea at Old Trafford on 16 August, when the new season kicks off. Now Rodgers has added his own note of caution as Liverpool lick their wounds after defeat to their bitter rivals.
"I think the competition will probably take him by surprise," said Rodgers, whose side squandered a 1-0 lead against United in Miami. "I think what he'll find is the competition in this league will be different to any other league that he's worked in."
With almost 30 years experience under his belt Van Gaal, who turns 63 this week, has one of the most impressive coaching CVs in world football. He has won silverware with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich and steered Holland to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup. Yet Rodgers believes he's in for a shock at Old Trafford.
However, the players will be up for the challenge, he adds. "Domestically, for the last 20 years, they've been champions 13 times. So the players there will want to do better for themselves. They will be disappointed with where they finished last year... they will want to push on."
Rodgers also struck a downbeat note when asked about his own team's chances after their near miss in the title race last season. "We're still a work in progress really," he said. "We made great strides last year and the expectancy for us is to improve again. But our task is to make sure we're in the Champions League again next year."