Friday 21 October 2016

Time has come to axe LVG and get Ancelotti

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal

Manchester United need to bite the bullet. If I owned the club, I would dump Louis van Gaal and offer Carlo Ancelotti a sack of money to come in and fix the squad.

If that sounds rash or like an overreaction, it is not. Van Gaal lives by the sword and should not be immune from drastic action.

He is a man with absolute belief in himself and doesn't suffer fools, or at least the people he considers fools, easily.

Often, I get the feeling that we're all fools as far as he is concerned and whether that is affectation or not, it is anything but endearing and will produce an opposite reaction In people.

When he's winning, he can say and do what he likes but when he is losing, confidence looks an awful lot like blind arrogance and I believe we have arrived at that point.


I've struggled to understand what it is van Gaal is trying to do at Old Trafford and now I believe he doesn't know himself.

His team is a mess and plays without passion or direction. Half of his very expensive squad is injured and talented Manchester United players are scoring goals at other clubs. It could hardly be worse.

The fig leaf of fourth place in the Premier League which he offered after United were turfed out of the Champions League in humiliating circumstances was removed far too easily by Bournemouth.

Van Gaal gave us some facts to prove his team is improving but this is a very simply equation.


If a manager invests £300m on footballers and finds himself reaching into the youth team for answers in December and cannot beat a promoted club struggling against relegation, there is something radically wrong.

If a manager who can't find a goal allows players like Chicarito and James Wilson to leave on loan and they start shooting the lights out at their adopted clubs, he has to take responsibility for that.

Manchester United slid out of the Champions League in Wolfsburg without ever looking good enough to be in it and he has to take responsibility for that as well.

Most urgently, he is responsible for the fact that his players look beaten before they start. To me, they look like Liverpool did last season and during many seasons before Luis Suarez arrived at the club.

I don't see leaders on the pitch. I see new lads like Memphis Depay and Antony Martial becoming more terrified of the shirt they're wearing every game and I see players who don't really understand what they are supposed to be doing.

That's as much about the quality of the players as the management but the consequence is a team which is failing.

I mentioned Liverpool and it is worth pointing out that nobody at Anfield would have believed back in the late 80s that the good times would ever stop and that we would be still waiting for another title more than 25 years later.

But only now, after a half dozen managers and more and many false dawns, is here real optimism around the club that somehow, a corner has been turned and that Jurgen Klopp can bring back glory.

Any Man Utd fan who thinks that his club is somehow immune needs to think again and remember their history.

There was a club there before Alex Ferguson and after Matt Busby.

It can happen at Old Trafford too and the signs are there for all to see.

This season has been all about inconsistency but I see a hint that Jose Mourinho has steadied the ship; that Manchester City are finding some form and that Arsenal will be buoyant after making the Champions League cut.

Klopp has made Liverpool hungry again as we saw yesterday when they battled and scrapped for a point against West Brom which might not have been won not so long ago.

I see an Everton side that can beat anyone and I haven't even mentioned Leicester City.

In other words, the Premier League is ripe for one or two clubs to settle in to the kind of run which can put distance between them and the pack very quickly.

But I see van Gaal and Manchester United going backwards.

At the rate that is happening, they will struggle to finish in the top four, never mind win the title.

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