Manchester United utility man Daley Blind has told FourFourTwo he believes his manager Louis van Gaal's foresight is second to none.
The Netherlands international, a £13.8 million signing from Ajax last summer, says his fellow Dutchman was the reason behind United’s form in the second half of last season.
Blind, who has so far played pre-season at centre-back for the Reds, bemoaned last season's weak start but says Van Gaal can propel the team to greater heights this term.
Louis van Gaal sees everything, and what he says always comes true
“At the start of the [last] campaign we were mainly building the team, but if you look to the second half of the season we were doing well,” said the 25-year-old, speaking in the September 2015 issue of FourFourTwo. “If we'd won a few more of the earlier games, we could have finished second.
“Louis van Gaal sees everything, and what he says always comes true. Many times we won matches on details which he had practiced in training beforehand.
“If you look at the home games against Spurs (3-0) and Manchester City (4-2), and the away match against Liverpool (1-2), you'll see that we gave away very few chances. Defensively we were well organised and knew exactly what to expect.”
Blind also revealed how United’s rivals Arsenal tried to sign him at 16.
The Amsterdam-born star recalls how it was a former Gunner who inspired his early days, and that he visited the north London club's training base – but declared he has no regrets.
Thierry Henry was a kind of idol to me. On the streets, I wanted to be him
“I went to London and visited Arsenal's training ground,” he said. “I got to see all the facilities, and the staff explained the role they saw there for me.
“Thierry Henry was a kind of idol to me. On the streets, I wanted to be him.
“I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd joined them [Arsenal]. But I'm proud of what I achieved at Ajax. I'm also very happy to be at Manchester United now. I think I made the right choices.”
Interview: Arthur Renard
Read the full interview with Daley Blind in the September 2015 issue of FourFourTwo, available in print, on iPad and also iPhone from Saturday August 1. It's season preview time! FFT is on hand to give you the skinny on 128 teams across England and Scotland in our big, shiny and perfectly formed 100-page pre-season supplement. Plus a One-on-One with Gary Neville, interviews with Aaron Ramsey, Vincent Kompany and Harry Kane, and we go behind the scenes for the first days of pre-season training with Bournemouth. What's more, there's Planet Football's Euro-league previews, the usual Upfront silliness and stacks of expert advice in Performance. Subscribe!