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Ruud van Nistelrooy explains coaching style, three Man Utd players will be affected



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Credit: The Overlap

Ruud van Nistelrooy has explained his own coaching style ahead of his return to Manchester United as assistant coach.

Van Nistelrooy, 47, spent five years at United as a player and scored 150 goals for the club before he departed for Real Madrid.

The former striker has since turned to management after retirement from the game and had success during his sole campaign as first-team manager at PSV Eindhoven.

Despite winning two trophies in the 2022/23 season, the Dutchman departed the Eredivisie club after claiming a lack of support from the board.

Now, he has decided to take on the challenge of being Erik ten Hag’s assistant manager at Old Trafford. Fabrizio Romano has stated that the move will happen, along with Rene Hake joining the club.

Ten Hag has been backed by INEOS, who are planning to offer him a new contract, but it is clear that they want to see new ideas within the coaching team, and Van Nistelrooy has already explained his own playstyle that he will be bringing in.

Asked on The Overlap how he likes to see his own teams play, Van Nistelrooy said: “I know this instinctive feeling that, when I coach a team, I like to see the ball in my team.

“When we have the ball, I’m like yes: now we can start playing, now we can start creating. I have a feeling that we have the ball and I like us to attack.

“We prepare possession to a certain moment where you’re going to hurt the opponent. That’s the reason to play possession.

“In that sense, I’m looking for the moment to speed up the attack, or go for goal, or set off another pass. That’s when I really start to tick on the sideline.”

There are similarities and differences with how Ten Hag wants his team to play, with there likely to be adjustments going forward.

From Van Nistelrooy’s comments, it is clear that Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo will be absolutely key to any ideas that he wants to implement.

The former United striker values possession greatly but does not want to overwork that and aims to ‘hurt’ the opposition at the best moment.

Mainoo and Fernandes do this in different ways. The 19-year-old can hurt teams with quick link-up or his dribbling style, while the Portuguese international will cut through defences with his passing range.

Both players are top quality at both aspects of the most important qualities that Van Nistelrooy values in his teams.

Meanwhile, Rasmus Højlund will likely also prosper with the 47-year-old at the club, not only as he can help him with his own game but also through his preferred style.

United had often been guilty of slow attacking play last season, with Højlund occupying defenders rather than running into space or channels to get the ball to his feet. Van Nistelrooy and the United team will demand quick and precise actions that could help Højlund get into the game more than he has done previously.

Importantly, of course, the new United coach also wants to create for the striker and dominant possession. Too often last season, the Dane was not getting chances as United were not dominating games or playing to the strengths of a centre-forward.

While not all of Van Nistelrooy’s ideas will be directly implemented into the game model at Old Trafford, he will certainly look to add aspects that could help certain players.