Is Louis van Gaal underperforming as Manchester United manager?
Manchester United fans were offered the mouthwatering prospect of the Dutch mastermind Louis van Gaal taking over the reigns at Old Trafford in the summer – and the 63-year old’s superb World Cup at the helm of the Netherlands made him an even more attractive proposition.
The former-Ajax boss infamously suggested it’d take him three months to get his Manchester United squad used to his philosophy, and playing the way he wanted. That seemed to be the case as the club went on an extremely positive thirteen game unbeaten streak, but since the turn of the year, the disappointing results and equally dismal performances have returned.
United look out of ideas, they lack any real pace and movement: particularly in the attacking areas of the pitch. The boys look like nervous wrecks at the back, and the midfield lacks any real strength and combative presence, and that was highlighted against West Ham’s superior midfield dynamism yesterday.
It seems like Van Gaal is trying his hardest to fit all of his stars into one team, and that has led to Wayne Rooney being moved back to central midfield – a role which for me, he clearly doesn’t suit. He doesn’t have the brains to pick the right passes at the right time, and his positioning is woeful at times. Despite this being clear for all to see, Van Gaal has stuck with his captain and left Ander Herrera – a man who waited a year for his transfer from his boyhood to United is rotting on the bench.
His constant tinkering between tactics and formations quite clearly has the players baffled and left them wondering just exactly what their jobs are. Watching the game yesterday I genuinely couldn’t tell what system and formation we were adapting, and I’m still not 100% sure as to what positions some of the players were supposed to be playing.
If we’re being completely honest, is the football any more attractive under Louis van Gaal that it was when David Moyes was manager? For me, the football is just as boring and the team look as clueless as ever in terms of their positions – particularly in an attacking sense.
What happens if United fail to claim a spot in the top four? Will we see the Iron Tulip lose his job in similar fashion to David Moyes? I doubt it because he’s that ‘big name manager’ the fans have been crying out for. Maybe David Moyes wasn’t the whole problem, and maybe the Manchester United squad does indeed need a serious overhaul.
The one saving grace for Van Gaal is the huge chance he has to win the FA Cup. United are current favourites for England’s premier domestic tournament, and a favorable draw away at Preston North End backs that up. Hopefully United can avoid one of Liverpool and Arsenal, and pray that those two meet along the way and knock each other out, leaving a clear path for United to reach the final.