UK & World News
Van Gaal 'Has Big Ambitions' As Man Utd Boss
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has promised to "make history" at Old Trafford after being confirmed as the new Manchester United manager on a three-year contract.
The 62-year-old will take charge after leading Holland at the World Cup and will be assisted by Ryan Giggs, United's interim manager for the final four games of last season.
After 27 years under Sir Alex Ferguson, van Gaal will be United's fourth manager in just over a year, and becomes the club's second non-British coach after Irishman Frank O'Farrell.
He has won league titles at Ajax, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich, as well as the Champions League with Ajax, and will be expected to return United to Premier League contention immediately.
After finishing only seventh last season, at a cost of around £35m, the club's fans and the American owners the Glazer family expect an immediate return to the Champions League places as a minimum requirement.
In a statement van Gaal said he was confident he could meet expectations.
He said: "It was always a wish for me to work in the Premier League. To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud.
"I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena Old Trafford is and how passionate and knowledgeable the fans are.
"This club has big ambitions; I too have big ambitions. Together I'm sure we will make history."
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was among the first to react to van Gaal's appointment, labelling the Dutchman a "great man and a great football manager".
The appointment of Giggs as van Gaal's assistant will delight fans keen to see continuity with the "Class of '92" generation of former players, and also offers the Welshman a chance to gain the experience that could make him the Dutchman's eventual replacement.
He announced he was retiring as a player to concentrate on his new role in an open letter to fans published on the club website.
Giggs said: "For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions - immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future."
United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today.
"He has achieved many things in his career to date and Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story.
"Everyone is very excited about this new phase in the club's history. His track record of success in winning leagues and cups across Europe throughout his career makes him the perfect choice for us.
"People know him as a larger than life character but I have also been extremely impressed by his intelligence, thoughtful approach to the role and his diligence. I'm looking forward to working with him.
"I'm delighted that Louis has chosen Ryan as his assistant. Ryan's association with the Club spans over two decades and his knowledge and stature will be of great use to Louis.
"In addition, this is a fantastic opportunity for Ryan to learn his trade alongside a world class manager whose attacking instincts and belief in youth are tailor-made for Manchester United."