Football

Louis van Gaal's attempt to rebuild Manchester United could face wrath of fans

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One must wonder what Sir Alex Ferguson thinks as he watches his beloved Manchester United from his position in the stands, as the team he once led appears almost unrecognisable from the squad that he guided to the Premier League title a little over two years ago.

The recent sales of Johnny Evans and Javier Hernandez mean that there are only seven players left from the 2012/13 squad that Ferguson built. As he implied in his farewell speech, the legendary manager had envisioned that squad carrying on his legacy.

His pre-ordained successor David Moyes initiated a cull of his own, but limited it to the coaching-staff. Instead, he added two players of his own to the existing squad - Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata.

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There was one big problem for Moyes, though. For a lot of that squad, they had spent the best part of their careers under the tutelage of Ferguson - 'Fergie's way' was all they knew. Many still referred to him as 'the gaffer' in interviews. They were not open to change.

Moyes was doomed from the start because any decision he made and anything he said would be scrutinised to the point of comparison to Ferguson. In truth, there was a minimal chance that he was ever going to succeed.

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When Louis van Gall arrived in 2014, after the sacking of Moyes, he brought with him a bigger reputation and an even bigger ego, and was tasked by the United board with restoring the Red Devils to their former glory. The Dutchman quickly realised that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, though, and that certain players could not, or would not adapt to his system of playing.

He launched a massive cull that saw fourteen players leave the team that summer, with six new recruits. Fans reacted positively to the changes, while the departures of stalwarts Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand were met with a sad resignation. Both were in the twilight of their distinguished careers.

The passing of players like Tom Cleverly and Shinji Kagawa were not mourned by fans that had become increasingly critical of their performances.

This summer saw the trend continue, after what had been a slight improvement the season before by finishing fourth, when high-profile names like Robin van Persie and Rafael da Silva were unceremoniously shown the door by the ruthless Van Gaal.

The Dutchman has recently been accused of tearing the soul out of the club by angry fans - consistency has been bereft of around Old Trafford in recent years - which ultimately could ultimately lead to the manager becoming an unpopular figure.

Change is often the only way forward, but too much change can have a detrimental impact on a side that can often lead to further issues than originally dealt with - something that Van Gaal must be wary of in his pursuit of a first trophy.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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