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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL: For Van Gaal, it's all about entertainment, entertainment, entertainment...

EPL: For Van Gaal, it's all about entertainment, entertainment, entertainment...

August 16, 2014 14:06 IST

EPL: For Van Gaal, it's all about entertainment, entertainment, entertainment...

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Louis van Gaal's biggest challenge as Manchester United manager will be to provide entertaining football for the club's supporters, he said on Friday.

After a successful series of pre-season matches, United open their Premier League campaign with a home fixture against Swansea City on Saturday.

The experienced Van Gaal knows he is expected to improve on last season's disappointing showing under David Moyes, who was sacked as the club finished seventh, their lowest position since 1990.

Van Gaal wants to do it by playing the attacking brand of football for which United are renowned.

"We have to give pleasure to the fans because that's the most important thing," Van Gaal told a news conference.

"Football is not only a commercial business, but also to entertain people. If there are no fans [in the stadium] even the broadcasters won't come."

The manager explained his decision to make England forward Wayne Rooney his captain after many observers had expected the job to go to Robin van Persie, the Netherlands' captain under Van Gaal at the World Cup finals.

"I like him (Rooney) very much, how he has trained and also how he has performed in the games," he said, adding that he had reminded the England striker of his responsibilities off the pitch [which] "is also very important to me".

Van Persie will miss the game against Swansea and continue working on his fitness after returning late to pre-season training following the Netherlands' run to the World Cup semi-finals.

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Image: Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is congratulated by the fans after winning his home debut in the Pre Season Friendly match between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Oscar award helps Drogba get No 11 Chelsea shirt back

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Didier Drogba praised an Oscar performance on Friday when the returning Chelsea great was handed the number 11 shirt he made famous during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.

Drogba displaces the Brazil international who instead took the number eight jersey vacated by Manchester City loan signing Frank Lampard after the London club released their squad numbers for the new season.

"I am very pleased to be able to return to the number 11 shirt and I am very grateful to Oscar for allowing me to make this change," the influential Ivorian told the club website (www.chelseafc.com).

Drogba last donned the jersey when he scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in May 2012.

He wore the number 15 during pre-season, the shirt he originally had when he first signed for Chelsea from Olympique de Marseille in 2004.

"Didier is a Chelsea legend and a senior player. I am happy for him to take the 11 and for me to take the eight," Oscar said. "Lamps is another legend at this club and I hope I will be as successful in the shirt as he was."

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, returning to Chelsea after a loan spell at Atletico Madrid, has been given the 13 shirt while new signings Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis will wear numbers four, 19 and three respectively.

Manager Jose Mourinho told Chelsea TV he expects Drogba torecover from an ankle injury in time for their opening Premier League game at promoted Burnley on Monday.

 


Image: Chelsea's Didier Drogba (right) runs with his teammates during a warm-up session
Photographs: Paul Hackett/Reuters

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