MANCHESTER, England - Louis van Gaal insists he will rule Manchester United democratically as the new Old Trafford boss bids to restore "the biggest club in the world" to their former glory.
Van Gaal arrives at fallen giants United with a well-earned reputation as tough taskmaster during a glittering coaching career which has included spells at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
But when he met the world's media for the first time as United manager yesterday, the 62-year-old Dutchman was adamant different aspects of his personality have made him successful rather than the hard-line approach that is frequently mentioned.
"I am a democratic, empathetic human being," Van Gaal said. "Of course I have a strong personality but the other characteristics are more important. And that's the key of my personality.
"My reputation for being autocratic? It's unfair. Because of the media. They want to show that part of the personality."
Van Gaal, who guided the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup, would not give an exact prediction on where he expected United to finish in the Premier League in the coming season following their woeful seventh place last term.
However, he did acknowledge there is significant weight of expectation at Old Trafford and claimed his personal goal throughout management was always to finish at the top.
"For me, the challenge is always first and not fourth," van Gaal said.
"But when you have to analyse after one season, it depends on the click between the players and the manager.
"Can I fulfil their expectation? I think I can do. But because of the greatness of this club it's also much more difficult than another club.
"Also this club is also guided in the commercial way and we have to fulfil that also."
Van Gaal insisted he would make a full assessment of United's squad before he pursued any further transfer targets.
"Of course, I know the players and how they play. But I don't know how the players have trained and coached. Firstly I want to see, over the first two, three, four weeks, what they can do."