Louis van Gaal
Van Gaal's speech to his players and staff grabbed the headlines after the club's end-of-season awards.Getty

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal stole the show with a rousing and colourful speech at the club's end-of-season awards ceremony.

The manager was invited to the stage after David de Gea scooped Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards and treated the players, staff and fans in attendance to a thrilling speech, roaring his side are "very close" to catching Chelsea next season.

"It is always difficult to resume the season," Van Gaal said during the ceremony broadcast by MUTV.

"But when you start the season with 10 matches and 13 points, and you are a manager of that club -- the most world-famous club -- and you play at home; I am also a human being and I have the experience with other clubs, when you have that result you are not very beloved by your fans.

"I came in the stadium of Old Trafford, 10 matches, 13 points, and I came in. I saw by myself how I have to behave myself and then the public are applauding, standing up and I thought: 'How is it possible that the fans are supporting me?'

"Thanks to that we could continue – not only me, my staff but especially the players, because it is not so easy when you are playing in a great club as Man United when you have 10 matches, 13 points and a new manager who demands in another way than all the other managers.

"It's very difficult and with all the injuries of the first part of the season, and then we continue with a spirit in the team – unbelievable. That's the credit of this team, the spirit in the team. We come from, I thought in my memory, 13th place to third position in the league, after such a bad start.

"Then we had to believe the players but also the staff that we could end second. I remember the meeting with the players with the captain Wayne Rooney, who's saying: 'We go for the second position in the league' and I said: 'Yes! We go for it!'

"But okay, Christmas time, Arsenal are very good and we lost. You remember the game against Arsenal. We were the better team and the best player on the pitch in my opinion makes an error and we lose that game and I forget the meeting which I have talked about. And then you have to remember that we win six games in a row.

"Then we go to Chelsea. You remember the away game against Chelsea? No, no, no, you have to listen. I ask you to listen. Because at that time we have 50 points and then Rooney sat in the dressing room – 'We go for the second place,' he said that. Second position in the league table.

"Then six games in a row we win and then we go to Chelsea. Who are the better team then? It's easy to say that now in this room. I can believe it but it was the truth, but we lost. We lost that game but can you imagine when you have 80 percent ball possession you have 10 big possibilities and they have three; they have three and they win the game.

"When we win that game count the number of points we could have won because after that we lost three games in a row. But when you see that we have 13 points and Chelsea have 83 points and we could have been the champion.

"What I want to say to you, we are very close. But as a manager I know that is not counting, we have to produce more. And believe me, the players, but also the staff, but also the organisation like Manchester United shall do their utmost best and why? Because we have the best fans of the world. Thank you for that and I will see you next season again."

Urged on by his assistant Ryan Giggs, who received a playful clip around the ear from the Dutchman earlier in the evening, van Gaal returned to the stage for a final entertaining, albeit bizarre encore.

"I want to say something. Pay attention to the manager! – Ryan Giggs said to me, and he is always right but in this case particularly right. I have said to you – you are the best fans in the world but tonight I was a little bit disappointed and I shall say why.

"I have seen a lady who plays the saxophone fantastically. Give her big applause."