Following in the footsteps of the most successful manager in football history was always going to be a challenge, a challenge that proved too much for previous manager David Moyes. After what United fans could only describe as one of the most disastrous seasons the club and its loyal fans had ever witnessed, we turned our hopes of a successful revival to World Cup stand out Louis Van Gaal.
Louis Van Gaal boasted an impressive CV , winning silverware with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich before starting his tenure as first team coach of The Netherlands. The majority of our fans were all full of optimism and excitement when it was announced that he would be taking charge of the club. Hollands brilliant display in the World Cup, accompanied by the clear love and support of Manchester United players Robin Van Persie (Which was evident in the high five following Van Persie’s excellent diving header against Spain) got all of us very excited. The incredible unbeaten run in pre-season furthered our optimism and got us all itching for the new season to begin.
Fans were on cloud nine after the Summer acquisitions of world class players such as Angel Di Maria , Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, and fans favourite Ander Herrera. Finally we had the players we’d been screaming out for all summer. Fielding one of the most expensive teams in football history , the pressure was on Louis Van Gaal to bring glory back to Old Trafford.
His first season resulted in finishing in 4th place and champions league football was returning to Old Trafford once again. We knew it was going to be hard to recover mentally from the horror shows of the Moyes era and Despite not finishing as high as we’d hoped, fans were content with the fact we’d once again clinched champions league football and were prepared to back Louis Van Gaal for the 2015/2016 campaign. Disappointments came in the form of lethargic and under performing Angel Di Maria and January deadline day loan signing Radamel Falcao . Despite an impressive start Angel Di Maria failed to impress fans with his lacklustre and unpassionate performances and was swiftly sold to Ligué one front runners PSG. Rademel falcao was a fans favourite to start with, the roars of El Tigre resonating around the Stretford End will be something that long lives in the memory of Manchester United fans, however what will not live in the memory is his woeful demise from World Class striker to an extremely poor one. The decision to not sign him on a permanent basis wasn’t a shocking one.
Louis Van Gaal will have been very pleased with his summer signings and more so with a string of impressive results at the start of this season, Wins against Tottenham, Aston Villa and a 7-1 aggregate thrashing of Club Brugge in the Champions League left united fans with a positive approach to the remainder on the season. The deadline day signing of Anthony Martial raised a few question marks over the Louis Van Gaal’s spending. 36million pounds on an unproven 19 year old seemed ridiculous. Fans doubts were quickly diminished after an incredible solo goal against Liverpool put Man United fans and commentator Martin Tyler into a state of pure astonishment. Martial was one of a few united summer signings along with Dutchman Memphis Depay, World Cup winner Bastian Schweinstiger, Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneidlerlin, Italian fullback Mattieo Darmian and goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Another string of good results left United battling for top spot and fans were excited for the coming fixtures. As the season hit October the problems began to start for Louis Van Gaal. After a horror tackle left Luke Shaw with a double fracture of the leg, Manchester United were without an experienced left back, Reece James had been transferred to Wigan and we had to rely/still are relying on cover from either Ashley Young, Darmian and more recently Cameron Borthwick Jackson. The problems accelerated thick and fast after that as Manchester United’s Champions League dream was abruptly ended by a defeat to Wolfsburg and a string of losses followed by an exit from the league cup in the 4th round to Championship side Middlesbrough accompanied by 0-0 draws began to make the fans restless.
Is Louis van Gaal To Blame?
I am with a lot of other Manchester United fans when they complain about how the quality of football has deteriorated and that we’ve become boring to watch. Its become painful to view and is slowly turning the club into a laughing stock. But the key question here is, is this Van Gaals fault? I was extremely happy when we had signed Memphis Depay, a goal scoring pacey winger is just what we needed. This season has proved difficult for Memphis, there were indications that we had signed the player we had seen at PSV when he scored the impressive brace in the Champions League, but apart from that he hasn’t contributed to the team a huge amount. With the odd assist and goal here and there he lands himself in the increasingly large pile of disappointing signings. Another disappointment this season has been Wayne Rooney. Fans, like myself, have been left completely bewildered at his performances this season, there’s no passion, no desire to score, he seems unfit, and just generally not bothered at all. If your captain and leader has that mentality what does that show to the other players? A team is a reflection of their leader and right now i think the team is bang on Rooney’s level of motivation. I miss the Rooney that would be kicking out at players ,never stop running, flying into tackles , putting his neck on the line and doing anything he could to help the team. Are these poor performances Louis van Gaals fault? Personally i do think so. I’m sure the the word philosophy haunts you as much as it does me. Van Gaals philosophy seems to be to keep the ball, dominate possession and that’ll win games, but clearly that’s not the case. And the key problem is that to put it bluntly, Van Gaal is relentlessly stubborn and wont change. Football has changed hugely the past 5 – 10 years. His philosophy may have worked then but in a game that’s ever changing you have to adapt to the new styles, whether it fits your ‘philosophy’ or not. This is also not the philosophy that has carved players like Rooney into world class strikers , instead of trying to impose his own outdated strategies, he needs to start to look at the premier league winning side he inherited + Mata and Fellaini and work with the formula that got them there. To sum that section up, I believe that the players lethargic passion and boring attitudes are a result of the outdated styles of Louis Van Gaal, trying to instil tactics which are completely outdated and not what the players play well with,this is obviously going to result in the players becoming increasingly frustrated and a dip in the squad morale. Players who don’t believe in the manager and don’t play well under the managers system will not produce goals and hence will not win games.
I really do feel for LVG though, if you spend 250+ million on world class players you should expect them to fulfil a job and perform regardless of whether they like it or not. Maybe the players need a crash course in what it means to represent a club like Manchester United. Players like Patrice Evra , Rafael, Scholes, Giggs ect they all knew what it meant to play for us. Does the squad we have now? If I was given the red shirt and an opportunity to play I would be putting in 110% every week because I love the club. Does anybody in this Man United side share the same mindset? Bar maybe 1 or 2, I don’t think so. I think Sir Alex made this a vital requirement for any player he had in his side and I think this is hugely responsible for the success. I think this is where managers like Moyes and LVG have failed. They cant communicate to the players enough to motivate them sufficiently and make them realise the honour, desire and commitment you need to have to wear the shirt.
To conclude I don’t feel Louis Van Gaal is the right man to take us forward. His ‘philosophy’ is outdated, he’s managed to turn a once predominantly attacking side into a slow, boring and non-threatening, average side. He also can’t affectively motivate his extremely talented group of players to perform week in week out and having him continue into the 2016/2017 campaign would be a big mistake for the club.