Louis Van Gaal needs to be shown the door if Manchester United are to kick on next season and finally put an end to their post-Fergie stagnation.
As yet another underwhelming season slowly creeps to a close at Old Trafford, the supporters’ patience with the United head coach has been dwindling.
Having failed to advance from the UEFA Champions League group stages, dumped out of the last sixteen of the league cup by Middlesborough and outclassed by Liverpool in the Europa League, not even an FA Cup win should save Van Gaal’s head from the chopping block.
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Van Gaal’s stubborn attitude and stringent tactics are traits of a bygone age, and he has further angered supporters with his comments about the club’s expectations.
“We are in a period of transition. It is not so easy,” the Dutchman said, via BBC Sport. “We have to meet the expectations of the biggest club in the world. Expectations are too high.”
Rumours of dressing room unrest have been reported throughout Van Gaal’s reign, with a number of players thought to be unhappy with his stern man-management, and the 64-year-old coach believes that this speculation impacts his players’ performances.
“When the media is writing for six months I am sacked already... I can cope with that. It is not new for me. For my players, it is not so easy.
“They are reading every day. What do you think about my authority? What do you think about the way they want to follow my advice, when their coach is showed like a nobody because I cannot do anything?
Van Gaal defiant
“But I am not like that. I am very arrogant. I am one of the best managers in the world.”
Van Gaal may have been one of the best managers in the world, and his prior achievements speak for themselves, but his tenure at Manchester United has been far from impressive.
With Champions League qualification slipping further out of his grasp, an FA Cup win against Crystal Palace on 21 May – the club’s first since 2004 – would be the perfect way for Van Gaal to bow out respectably.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have particularly impressed for The Red Devils this season, primarily because the two youngsters have gone against the grain of Van Gaal’s footballing philosophy, which seems to have strangled the attacking ability of other players in the squad.
Van Gaal can at least be credited for United's defence, which is the best in the league after Tottenham Hotspur, having conceded just 34 goals so far this season.
This can be attributed to the possession style of football Van Gaal has implanted on the squad, combined with a world-class goalkeeper reaching his peak, and the restricted forward runs of the full-backs. The latter has been especially necessary after Luke Shaw’s season-ending injury so early in the year.
However, United are heading for a record low number of goals scored in the league with a meagre 43 this season, their lowest ever in the Premier League era by a considerable margin. They bagged 58 goals in 2004-05, which until now was their lowest total.
And therein lies the most significant vexation among the club's Manchester United supporters. Under the Dutch head coach, the club has been sapped of their prior infamous attacking prowess, the trademark of the Manchester United of old.
Unlike his predecessor David Moyes, Van Gaal has been given time to impose his style and philosophy on the squad, and the disappointing returns of the last two seasons prove that he is not the right coach to take the club forward.
For a club as big as Manchester United, three years is far too long of a transition period. Expectations will always be high.
Just how Jose Mourinho would respond to expectations being “too high” at Manchester United?
Should United replace Louis van Gaal with Jose Mourinho? Have your say in the comments.