Louis van Gaal arrived at Carrington for the first time on Wednesday—and was greeted by the two men who will help shape his time at Old Trafford.
Much has been made of Van Gaal's bond with Robin van Persie.
And while that's positive for Manchester United fans, it's the new manager's relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and assistant manager-slash-club legend Ryan Giggs that will be more significant.
We've been here before.
David Moyes never really made it work with Woodward or Giggs. It's not the sole reason for his spectacular downfall, but it was a contributing factor.
Van Gaal has a different personalty to his predecessor. And a different aura.
But a good working relationship with his boss and his right-hand man will make his time at Old Trafford go much more smoothly.
Giggs, for his part, is saying all the right things as he prepares to take up a full-time coaching role for the first time (via the Manchester Evening News):
Louis has a clear philosophy and he sticks to that philosophy.
He won’t be afraid of taking over Manchester United. He’ll relish it. He’ll look forward to it.
He’s been at Bayern, Barcelona, he’s been at huge clubs.
Obviously, in my view, Manchester United is the biggest but he’s not scared about the challenge, he’s not apprehensive. He can’t wait.
He has the experience to do it. It won’t be easy. It never is. The Premier League’s a tough league to win but that’s what we’ll try to do.
I was excited about how forthright and how clear he was about what he expects from the staff and the players.
It's Van Gaal's relationship with Giggs that is most intriguing. He'll know all about Giggs the player. He'll have devised plans to stop him as an opposition manager.
But he will know very little about Giggs the coach.
More than that, Giggs is very close to the dressing room. Van Gaal isn't. Yet.
Van Gaal has brought in three of his own men—Albert Stuivenberg, Frans Hoek and Marcel Bout.
They will already have an understanding. And it can be difficult for outsiders to make themselves heard.
Giggs struggled under Moyes. But it can't be allowed to happened again.
Neither Van Gaal or Giggs, or Woodward for that matter, will kick a ball this season.
But if there is harmony at the top, everything else will follow. The big smiles outside Carrington on Wednesday afternoon are a good start.
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