Football

Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill could not bring himself to watch Match of the Day following the home defeat by Southampton.

David Gill calls for calm after Manchester United's loss to Southampton

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Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill has called for calm amid more speculation over the future of manager Louis van Gaal in what he admits is a season of "under-achievement".

Gill, who remains a non-executive director of United, says he went to the cinema instead of watching Match of the Day following the club's 1-0 home defeat by Southampton on Saturday, which left the Red Devils five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.

Speaking on Sportsweek, Gill said: "Clearly we all hoped the results would have been better and everyone is disappointed with that. It's been a season of under-achievement.

"But I know that everyone, from the owners and Louis van Gaal and his team, is working extremely hard to turn that around. It's not easy but we have to stick together.

"What you've got to do is stick to what you know is right to turn it around and don't get too distracted."

United were booed by their fans and Van Gaal admitted it was the worst reaction he has so far experienced in the job.

Gill added: "No one likes to see that. We're fans as well as directors and we don't want booing, we want cheering. But I think we've got to stay calm."

The FA vice-chairman, who declined to comment on a report that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has written to United to state his case to become the club's next manager, does not believe Van Gaal is finding the job more difficult than he imagined but is having to come to terms with a more competitive Premier League.

"He's managed at the top level, at the top clubs in Germany, Holland and Spain, I don't think he's found it that difficult but the sheer competitiveness of English football is there for everyone to see," Gill said.

"What Leicester are doing is absolutely fantastic and demonstrates the strength of the Premier League. And that will only increase next year with the new TV deals.

"I think the 20 Premier League teams will probably be in the top 30 revenue earners in European football so it gives every team a real ability to attract top players.

"If they spend that money wisely, it's going to be a very competitive league and there will be more teams in the mix going forward."

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