The Manchester United manager has been tasked with restoring the club to former glories but his Real Madrid counterpart doubts he will be instantly successful at Old Trafford
United endured a turbulent 2013-14 season under David Moyes, eventually finishing seventh, but Van Gaal has already set about reshaping the Old Trafford squad, with Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw acquired for over £50 million.
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Nevertheless, Ancelotti believes the Dutchman will find it difficult to bring instant success to the Red Devils, because United are still a team in transition.
“It will not be easy to win in the first year because there are many competitive teams who want to win. It is not easy to implement a new system,” he told reporters in the build-up to Real's friendly clash with United. “It is important that the player is convinced but it is difficult to say how long it will take.
“He is a very good and very experienced manager, he has fantastic experience and he will do a fantastic job at United. He is a manager who has nothing to learn. After Ferguson, it was more difficult for United, but they now have to rebuild a team.
“They have signed good players but building a team is not easy and the Premier League is a very competitive league.”
Ancelotti, who won the Premier League and the FA Cup at Chelsea, believes United are a “fantastic team” but laughed off suggestions that he was on the club's shortlist to replace Moyes following his sacking.
“These are rumours that usually happen but I am at a fantastic club. I have lots of respect for United but I am happy here and I think they have made a good choice in Louis van Gaal,” he added.
Real face United on Saturday, though Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature against his former club.