Man Utd legend Giggs: You knew your role with Ferguson, it was the opposite under Van Gaal

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has opened up on the difference between former coaches Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis van Gaal.

The winger spent almost all of his playing career under the tutelage of the Scottish great, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns among a host of other trophies.

After retiring in 2014, Giggs joined the United background staff and assisted former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Van Gaal when he arrived at Old Trafford in 2014.

Van Gaal lasted just two years at the Red Devils and was heavily criticised for his team’s playing style and underwhelming results.

Despite the disappointment, Van Gaal was recently hailed by Wayne Rooney as “by far the best” coach he worked with when it comes to tactics, but the former England striker said Ferguson was “streets ahead” overall.

While Giggs understood Rooney’s point, he says that life under Van Gaal was much more complicated than it was under Ferguson.

“I understand what Wayne was saying. Obviously we both worked under Sir Alex who I’ve known since I was 13,” Giggs told United’s website.

“Sir Alex had everything – man-management, discipline, standards, tactics, knowing a player, but with him, because we had such good players who had been together for a long time, you’d just go out and play. You knew your role, it was just a matter of just tweaking it.

“With Louis it was probably the opposite. We played different systems under him whereas under Sir Alex we more or less just played one system and we’d tweak it.

Louis van Gaal Manchester United Premier League
Ryan Giggs Wayne Rooney Manchester United

“I can’t remember us ever playing three at the back, maybe once or twice if we needed to hold on, but other than that we didn’t.”

He added: “It was about getting an understanding of the different ways to play. So I know what Wayne was saying because Louis worked a lot more on the training pitch with regards to patterns of play and tactical work.

“He’d come from Holland and also an international background and he took that into club football, so we had a lot of meetings – players felt sometimes too many!

“With Sir Alex it was quite simple. I’m not saying we didn’t have meetings – of course we did – but we had such good players that the manager would just need to tell them once and it would just be a little tweak here and there, like Ji-sung Park would go and mark Pirlo for example and Ji would do it and do it brilliantly.

“So I know what Wayne meant in terms of learning a lot under Louis.”