English Premiership

Van Gaal fights to silence critics

2015-12-11 09:45
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)

London - Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini insists under-fire boss Louis van Gaal will silence his growing band of critics by winning the Premier League title this season.

Van Gaal had endured a barrage of abuse from unhappy fans during last Saturday's 0-0 draw against West Ham, but that was nothing compared to the insults thrown at him after United suffered an embarrassing Champions League exit on Tuesday.

With a host of former United stars including Paul Scholes and Roy Keane queuing up to question van Gaal following that 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg, the pressure is mounting as the Dutchman takes his spluttering side to Bournemouth on Saturday.

United are without a win in their last four matches in all competitions and reports claim van Gaal has lost the support of sections of his squad, with some players said to have been amazed by his decision to replace Juan Mata with the inexperienced Nick Powell against Wolfsburg.

But Fellaini is adamant van Gaal retains the full backing of the dressing room and, with fourth placed United only three points behind leaders Leicester, the Belgium international expects a strong push to win the title.

"We trust him," Fellaini told NBC Sports. "He is the manager, it is his philosophy and we have to continue like that.

"I am sure the goals will come and the chances as well. Yes, of course (we can win the title). At the moment we are in the top four, we are there.

"It is a tough month but we have to continue like this. We know at Manchester United the expectations are high."

United could be facing fourth bottom Bournemouth at the worst possible time as Eddie Howe's team will be buoyant after their surprise win at Chelsea last weekend.

That loss threatened to bring the curtain down on Jose Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea after a traumatic season at the Stamford Bridge.

But Mourinho's players, regularly reported to be disenchanted with their manager this term, responded to claims that the Portuguese coach was on the verge of the sack by beating Porto 2-0 on Wednesday to book their place in the Champions League last 16.

That victory appears to have bought Mourinho breathing space as he tries to lift Chelsea, currently only two points above the relegation zone, back into contention for a top four finish.

Mourinho still has no margin for error with Chelsea's next assignment a tricky trip to Leicester and he could do with misfiring striker Diego Costa following up his vote of confidence with a lengthy scoring spree.

"Despite things not going well he is not to blame," said Costa, who was recalled by Mourinho against Porto after a spell on the bench.

"When four or five players are not playing well it is more difficult. The manager has been fighting and encouraging us to turn this around."

Leicester's remarkable rise to the top of the table in their first season under former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri makes them dangerous opponents for the west Londoners.

But Ranieri fears Chelsea are coming back into form just in time for Monday's trip to the King Power Stadium.

"Their record does not mean anything as Chelsea are Chelsea and Mourinho is Mourinho," Ranieri said.

"I'm sure at the end of the season they will be in the top four.

"I respect them a lot because I watched the Porto match. They played very well with good concentration."

Arsenal also reached the Champions League last 16 in midweek thanks to Olivier Giroud's hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Olympiakos.

Arsene Wenger's side, two points behind Leicester in second place, return to domestic action at bottom of the table Aston Villa on Sunday and winger Theo Walcott says their spirited success in front of a hostile crowd in Greece bodes well for their title challenge.

"We never give up and you should have seen them buzzing right at the end in the dressing room," Walcott said.

"That is the spirit we want in this team. It is the spirit that we can push on and improve."

Third placed Manchester City host manager less Swansea, who sacked Garry Monk in midweek.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.