Bartomeu backs Van Gaal to succeed at Man Utd

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The Barcelona president cited the Dutchman’s faith in youth during his two spells at Camp Nou, naming the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol

Josep Maria Bartomeu has backed Louis van Gaal to succeed at Manchester United after seeing him blood the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol at Barcelona.

The Dutchman took over at Old Trafford last season and, after a slow start, guided the club to the Champions League, with Wayne Rooney insisting earlier on Friday that the coach’s philosophy has clicked.

Van Gaal enjoyed a three-year spell as Barcelona boss between 1997 and 2000 before returning for a one-year stay in 2002-03 and the club’s president, who was recently re-elected, spoke of his admiration for the 63-year-old.

“Yes, it’s a good move,” he told reporters. “We know him from when he was at Barcelona and you have to remember that one of our best players of the past 15 years, Xavi, was brought through by Van Gaal.

“He put Xavi, Puyol and others into the first team. Van Gaal did something very good by having a lot of confidence in our young players.

“The youth players of our academy, La Masia, he used them a lot and he was right because for the last 12 or 15 years those players have been the best players in our team.

“We know how strong, intelligent and clever he is, how he gets the best that is possible from his players, and United are going to be one of the top clubs this year, I’m sure.”

United face Barcelona in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

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