Friday 15 December 2017

Van Gaal is 'difficult'

Reds defender Varela says 'sometimes it is not so easy' with LVG

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal faces another must-win test, this time
against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday Photo: Reuters
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal faces another must-win test, this time against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday Photo: Reuters
Manchester United defender Guillermo Varela has claimed life under Louis van Gaal is “not easy” Photo: PA
United executive director Ed Woodward Photo: Reuters

Manchester United right-back Guillermo Varela admits Louis van Gaal has a 'difficult personality'.

Varela, 22, made his United debut in December and has played three times since, most recently in the FA Cup win over Derby.

The Uruguayan, who has spent two-and-a-half years at the club, was dropped for Tuesday night's game against Stoke and has opened up about his experiences playing under Van Gaal.

"The rumours say there is always some kind of problem with the South Americans," Varela told Uruguayan newspaper Ovacion. "If I tell you the truth, I have had none. When we've had to talk it has been clear and stayed at that.

However, Varela added: "He has a difficult personality. Sometimes it is not so easy for the players."

Varela was a substitute for United's January defeat to Southampton, when supporters turned on Van Gaal.

Of the defeat, Varela said: "The stands were falling down. They know that things are not going well and the fans get anxious, just like the players."

The first signing of the post-Alex Ferguson era, Varela described Wayne Rooney as United's 'main leader' following the departures of experienced figures such as Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and - from the playing staff - Ryan Giggs.

Varela also became the latest to criticise the Premier League's Under-21s set-up.

Youngsters are often frustrated by the ramshackle scheduling and United's Monday night game at Everton was played behind closed doors due to a waterlogged pitch at Southport.

The U21s face City's Elite Development Squad twice this month and Varela, who played under Zinedine Zidane for Real Madrid's B team, prefers Spain's system.

"That year (at Castilla) was a learning experience and gave me confidence," Varela said.

"I have to be grateful for the support I got. I wish him (Zidane) the best in charge at Real.

"Castilla is something different, playing in the Segunda Division or Segunda B, and you have a lot of pressure. They treat you like you are a first-team player and that's impressive.

"Here in Manchester the reserves are totally different. The league in which they play is not very good, and more about development. It is very good for the kids who are growing up, but when you reach a certain age it is not so much use to you."

Van Gaal faces further scrutiny in Sunday's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the Dutchman is well aware that any further slip-ups in the league will see United's hopes of securing a Champions League spot go up in smoke.

That could lead to the end of van Gaal's tenure at Old Trafford in the summer with Jose Mourinho rated as the favourite to take over.

United's executive director Ed Woodward could face uncomfortable questions about the future of van Gaal when he addresses investors next week.

United are set to announce their latest quarterly figures next Thursday.

As well as outlining the club's financial performance to shareholders, Woodward will be obliged to answer questions.

In the face of so much speculation surrounding Van Gaal's position - especially after claims he offered his resignation over Christmas - the subject of his future is likely to be raised.

While pressure on the Dutchman has eased slightly following back-to-back wins against Derby and Stoke, United face the very real prospect of missing out on Champions League qualification.

That will have huge financial ramifications in terms of revenue from gate receipts and television rights.

United expect to record revenues of as much as £500m this season on the back of their kit sponsorship deal with Adidas and their return to the Champions League.

But failure to qualify for Europe's top competition next season will be costly - even if all Premier League clubs are in line for a windfall when the new TV rights deal kicks in.

Van Gaal was expected to return United to the summit of English football and make them a force in Europe once again.

But his position has been put in serious doubt following his side's exit from the Champions League at the group stage and woeful Premier League form in recent months.

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