Louis van Gaal will come up against a painful reminder of one of his darkest days as a manager when his Manchester United side host Ipswich Town in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. It was 14 years ago this month that Van Gaal’s Netherlands side traveled to Dublin for a crucial World Cup qualifier against a Republic of Ireland team managed by current Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy. And it was the Irish, inspired by then Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane, who won 1-0 to effectively end a hugely talented Dutch side’s chances of making it to the Japan and South Korea.
Van Gaal soon left his post, while McCarthy guided Ireland to a Round of 16 place at the 2002 World Cup.
“I was absolutely f***ing delighted to win that one,” McCarthy said when asked on Tuesday to recall his memories of his last meeting with Van Gaal. “It was a great day for me and Ireland. We won 1-0 despite the fact we were down to 10 men for about 40 minutes. It set me up for one of the highlights of my career — managing at the World Cup.
“Before the game I was getting annoyed because they were booking their hotels and it was supposed to be us that were going out. I was an angry young man then and I’m more pragmatic now but I still look forward to pitting my wits against him.”
There is not the same pressure on Van Gaal this time around, yet he will again be desperate to avoid an upset against McCarthy’s underdogs. That is especially true given that the veteran Dutch coach’s first experience of England’s League Cup ended in an ignominious 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Milton Keynes Dons in last season’s second round. And, on the back of consecutive Premier League wins over Liverpool and Southampton, United’s coach insists his priority is on getting through against an Ipswich side currently fifth in the Championship.
“I think you have to fight for every cup and that is what we shall do,” . “We hope to do it [have a long run in the League Cup]. That’s why I want a fresh team and I hope we shall beat Ipswich Town. Ipswich are a very good team.
“I want to win every match and Sunderland is the game after this match. Now I focus on the match we have to play and I have asked the players to do that in the same way because we have to beat Ipswich Town.”
Van Gaal will have to make at least one change to the lineup that , with Marcos Rojo, along with Paddy McNair, ruled out. Those absences could mean that Phil Jones will be included in the squad for the first time this season after returning to full training following a diagnosis of mild thrombosis just prior to the start of the Premier League season.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has made it clear that his priority lies in attempting to gain promotion from the Championship and Ipswich’s upcoming match with Bristol City on Saturday.
This match is not televised.
Kickoff time: 3 p.m. EDT