LOUIS van Gaal says he feared taking his Manchester United side to St James’s Park – as he has a long memory.
Van Gaal was in charge of the Barcelona team famously beaten 3-2 in the Champions League by Newcastle United at the stadium in 1997 thanks to a Faustino Asprill hat-trick.
The 63-year-old returned a decade later with AZ Alkmaar, who were beaten 4-2 in the first leg of a UEFA Cup tie.
And under-pressure van Gaal was wary of what he calls a “difficult ground” ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting, eventually decided by an 89th-minute goal from Ashley Young.
“I was manager AZ Alkmaar and Barcelona, and I lost here as a coach two times,” said van Gaal.
“I knew it was a difficult ground. Ryan Giggs (van Gaal’s No2) said they will press us and a crowd supporting the team always, but we have made the crowd quiet.”
“I said in dressing room that I was very pleased with the performance, especially here at a difficult ground. We dominated the game.”