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Saturday 16 December 2017

Gary Neville: United must not turn on Van Gaal

United legend insists club need to support Van Gaal even if he fails in Champions League bid

Louis Van Gaal is looking to strengthen his midfield
Louis Van Gaal is looking to strengthen his midfield
England coach Gary Neville has spoken out about Manchester United's defensive problems

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville expects the club to stand by manager Louis van Gaal even if they miss out on Champions League qualification.

The Dutchman succeeded David Moyes as United’s permanent manager in the summer and despite an uneven campaign, they have put themselves in position to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Neville believes they will complete the job - and that even if they miss out, sacking Van Gaal would be the wrong move.

“Absolutely not, he shouldn’t be sacked,” he said. “It would be a terrible season for Man United and Louis van Gaal (if they do not finish in top four). He would probably say it was a big failure because he knows his job this season. He has to get in the Champions League.

“But on the other hand, if he didn’t, you can’t just sack a manager one year and then sack another manager the year after. Where do you go from there? There has to be a level of continuity. I absolutely believe this time there will be continuity and they will stand by him even if he doesn’t finish in the top four - and that’s the right thing to do.”

United have most of their rivals for European qualification still to play before the season finishes and Neville added: “I still think Manchester United will finish in the top four. I think they will scrape in.

“There is a period in March where they have Arsenal in an FA Cup quarter-final, then they have Spurs the Sunday after and Liverpool after that.”

Neville added: “There is an international break and then they have got Aston Villa, Man City and Chelsea. I’d like to think these games will inspire some of the bigger players at Man United.”

Neville is now a member of the England coaching staff and he echoed manager Roy Hodgson’s assertion that Tottenham striker Harry Kane will be included in the next squad, barring injury.

“You can’t ignore the form he’s been in,” he said. “It’s been a sensational season for him.

“I watched the game pre-Christmas against Everton and it transformed my appreciation of him.

“I saw he could go and attack defenders and run at them, he could go up with strong defenders and win balls, he could go back as a number 10 and be diligent defensively, win the ball back off people and counter-attack.”

Kane himself is taking nothing for granted and is hoping to play a part in June’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.

“There’s still a month before the squad’s named, there’s a lot of football to be played,” the in-form striker claimed.

“I’m just concentrating on what I’m doing at Tottenham but if a calls comes it will be a very proud moment, it would mean the world.

“We’ve got the Under-21 tournament in the summer, that’s a great chance to bring a trophy home for the country and hopefully we can take that into tournaments with the senior side.”

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