Manchester United's Louis van Gaal deserves some credit for the job he's done

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Following defeats to Wolfsburg in the Champions League and Bournemouth over the weekend, criticism has come in thick and fast for Manchester United's Louis van Gaal.

Whether it be the style of play he's implemented at Old Trafford or the ludicrous amount of money spent on new arrivals, the blame has fallen at the Dutchman's feet.

But is it warranted? Or is it a classic case of impatience getting the better of football fans? Here's why Van Gaal deserves some slack.


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The former Netherlands manager has often been accused of not spending his some £260 million in transfer funds wisely since his arrival.

However, players such as Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay, as much as they've disappointed in some respects since their respective arrivals, are young, raw and inexperienced in the Premier League.

They have natural talent in abundance, that much is undeniable, and are nowhere near their peak; in three to four years time, though, when they near their physical peaks and have enough experience in England under their belt, they'll thrive.

Meanwhile, in midfield, Bastian Schweinsteiger has obvious and proven quality, though the issue remains whether he can last the full course of a season at his age. Morgan Schneiderlin has added steel in front of the defence - something that has been missing in recent years.

In defence, Marcos Rojo has been a good utility player, able to play left-back and centre-back position, but the most underrated player is Daley Blind.

Playing out of position in the centre of defence, the Dutchman has largely silenced his critics with composed performances.


The Red Devils fielded Martial (20), Memphis (21) and Jesse Lingard (22) against Bournemouth on Saturday, the latter replaced by the even younger Andreas Perreira (20).

In defence, bar Chris Smalling, they had Guillermo Varela (22), Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (18) and Paddy McNair (20) at their disposal.

Similarly to what he did at Bayern Munich, where he gave Thomas Muller, Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lahm their debuts, and Barcelona where he gave Xavi and Andres Iniesta theirs, Van Gaal is building for the future.

The reason they have been given their chances is due to the numerous injuries suffered at Old Trafford, including Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw, both of whom were showing excellent form before their injuries.

Captain Wayne Rooney, who has been the face of United for a decade now, has also been struck by injury recently.


One of the hallmarks during David Moyes' era was conceding cheap, late goals against 'lesser' opposition, but also getting hammered by the big teams. In his short tenure, Moyes conceded three goals twice against Liverpool, lost at home and away to City, picked up one point against Chelsea across their two fixtures and suffered the ignominy of the losing twice against Everton.

But the Moyes era is history, and Van Gaal has eradicated the liability of a leaky defence, contrary to what their recent defeats suggest.

Even in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, who all left during his first summer in charge, Van Gaal has got the best out of Smalling and converted Blind into an efficient centre-back.


United fans have been thoroughly spoilt by the glory of the Sir Alex Ferguson era and it's a hard task for any manager within the foreseeable future to replicate even an ounce of his success.

Van Gaal's defensive and slow style of play has been questioned and rightly so; the Red Devils are blunt and ineffective in attack.

Is this down to youth and inexperience? Or the lack of creativity allowed for by the Dutchman's suffocating system? Evidence points to the latter - Angel Di Maria, Martial and Depay had explosive starts at the club before fading into the frustrated figures we see today, whilst the former has reignited his career at Paris Saint-Germain.

So, perhaps a lot of Van Gaal's critics are a bit quick to fire the gun, but it is certainly far from perfection. A league title or cup in the trophy cabinet will silence them for the time-being, but anything else and the storm will never cease.

Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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