Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen has revealed that he believes the team are lacking identity under new manager Louis van Gaal, and thinks that one more departure could ruin the DNA of the club.
As relayed by the Daily Telegraph the Dutch coach, who served most notably under Sir Alex Ferguson, said he was surprised that Van Gaal’s Red Devils weren’t playing better than they have done so far, and explained that it’s all because of a huge flaw in the way the 63-year-old manages his sides.
United picking up the points
So far this season United have managed to pick up points when they’ve been playing well below par, but though they currently sit third in the Premier League table, and are still just about within touching distance of Chelsea, Meulensteen has insisted that the success could quite quickly turn to ash.
Criticism of Van Gaal
“I find it a big surprise that Van Gaal has not managed yet to make the team play better,’’ said Meulensteen.
“We are nearly at Christmas now and look at the performances. I still don’t see a flow, a rhythm. They win five on the spin but they were absolutely pummelled at Arsenal and should have lost against Southampton.
“He will blow up at some point. That’s part of his make-up. Remember these words. If I’m speaking to you, I’m exchanging information over what I feel passionate about but I don’t lecture you. I’m not preaching to you. If you go and sit with Van Gaal, you’ll come out thinking ‘I’m 12 years old’.
"Remember these words. If I’m speaking to you, I’m exchanging information over what I feel passionate about but I don’t lecture you. I’m not preaching to you. If you go and sit with Van Gaal, you’ll come out thinking ‘I’m 12 years old’"
"He will speak to you as if you have no clue. He will look at you and be thinking ‘what are you asking me? I’m Louis van Gaal’. He’s not my cup of tea."
Much was made prior to Van Gaal’s arrival over the Dutchman’s stringent regimes and his totalitarian methods of management, although many assumed that was just what was needed at Old Trafford in the wake of David Moyes’s disastrous reign.
Ferguson’s departure had disrupted the club to the point where it was brought to the brink of failure, and only the presence of fan favourites like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes gave hope during the latter stages of last season.
As Meulensteen says, the former of that pair could yet be the difference between United remaining a club firmly moulded in the successful image of Ferguson, or becoming something different entirely.
Giggs's potential departure
I said to Ryan (Giggs): "I’m so glad you’re staying at the club in this role because you’re the one holding on to this life-line to the Ferguson era but I’m telling you it’s going to be the most difficult three years ahead of you.
"The lifeline is the connection to Ferguson, and what Ryan grew up with, the DNA that Ferguson put in the club. If Giggs leaves the club, that’s it, done, gone, forget it, he’s the last one holding on to it. It would be a very sad moment.”
"If Giggs leaves the club, that’s it, done, gone, forget it, he’s the last one holding on to it. It would be a very sad moment"
As United prepare to face Liverpool tomorrow afternoon they’ll know that the result could have a huge influence on morale at the club. Their age-old Merseyside rivals are low on confidence themselves but are sure to be up for the clash and Van Gaal could certainly make a statement of intent by clinching victory for a sixth consecutive time.