Van Gaal: I want to be liked by my players

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wants to be liked by his players as he played down his reputation for being a disciplinarian.

The Netherlands coach feels it is important to get on with members of his squad, as he looks ahead to taking over at Old Trafford after the FIFA World Cup.

Van Gaal, 62, has tried everything to develop his relationship with players, but has endured high-profile spats with the likes of Rivaldo during his long and distinguished career in the dugout. 

"I'm bothered about whether the players like me," he said

"It's very important. I am a coach who wants a good relationship with my players.

"And I do everything to reach that level but sometimes it is not reachable as the players are not open-minded and don't adapt to the norms that I put in the team.

"Most of the players (I have coached) are saying lovely things about me.

"There are also players who are very angry with me. Franck Ribery, Luca Toni, Hristo Stoichkov and Rivaldo."

Van Gaal revealed he came "very close" to taking over at Tottenham before accepting the job at former Premier League champions United.

"I came very close. Very close. Yes. As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion," he said.

"Jimmy Greaves was my idol. So I was very close."