Louis van Gaal on Saturday sought to temper expectations among Manchester United fans excited about his impending arrival at Old Trafford – but then suggested Dutch star Arjen Robben could possibly join him at the club.
“He knows he’s welcome,” the outgoing Dutch manager said in his last match in charge before joining United.
Van Gaal was speaking after Holland’s 3-0 win in Brasilia to claim third place.
Robben was involved in all the goals at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium, helping set up a Robin van Persie penalty and further goals by Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutch go home unbeaten, with their semi-final exit against Argentina only coming after a penalty shoot-out, but Van Gaal warned United supporters that they will inevitably find themselves on the losing side from time to time.
“I couldn’t do it with Ajax, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. Losing is part of sport,” he said.
“I just hope that at Manchester United I can do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans, we’ll have to wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”
Holland’s success at this World Cup was in large part thanks to the excellent team spirit that he forged, and his decision to hand goalkeeper Michel Vorm a late appearance as a substitute against Brazil means all 23 members of the Dutch squad played some part at the tournament.
“There will always be a place in my heart for these 23 players,” said van Gaal, who will be replaced as Dutch coach by Guus Hiddink.
“My players were great. I hope that the group in Manchester will become like this one because we have to read from the same hymn sheet. I hope I can get them to do that there.”