Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has questioned why his
future is under so much scrutiny while bemoaning his team’s lack of
Van Gaal’s side progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup on
Wednesday with victory at West Ham, but are struggling to secure a
top-four Premier League finish.
Last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Tottenham left United in fifth place,
four points behind neighbours Manchester City in fourth, and in danger
of missing out on next season’s Champions League.
That would leave the manager in a difficult position, with former
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho still considered a strong candidate to take
over if a change is made this summer.
Van Gaal’s contract runs until the summer of 2017, and he intends to
see it out, acknowledging that United have struggled to string victories
together this season but insisting that there are still reasons to be
positive as they look forward to an FA Cup semi-final against Everton at
Wembley next weekend.
The manager has brought young players such as Marcus Rashford and Tim
Fosu-Mensah into the first-team set-up this season, in line with both
his and the club’s wish to bring through their own talent.
Asked if his policy of looking to the long-term by promoting
youth-team graduates might have a positive effect on his battle to keep
his job, Van Gaal insisted that the question was irrelevant.
He said: “I don’t discuss that with you. You can ask every time the
same questions about what is happening with me. I don’t discuss it with
the media. The media is writing that. That’s your problem. But I’m not
When it was suggested to Van Gaal that it was common for football
managers to be placed under such scrutiny, he responded by arguing that
he had faced more criticism than his Premier League rivals.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I read only about my position in
the media but not the position of other managers, so I don’t agree with
Van Gaal, though, acknowledges that United have been inconsistent
this season; in the last two months alone, they have recorded impressive
victories over Arsenal and Manchester City, while falling to defeats
against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham, as well as going out of the
Europa League to Liverpool.
The manager said: “Consistency is very important of course. The
players and the manager and his staff have been frustrated because we
were not consistent this season but there were circumstances that caused
“When you have to line up with a different team every week because of
injuries, it’s difficult to make a consistent team building process.
“We are still in the race for the first positions in the league and we are still in the FA Cup. I am very happy with that.”
Van Gaal, meanwhile, has downplayed a statistic that shows Rashford’s
goalscoring rate is better than Cristiano Ronaldo’s was at the same
early stage of his United career, back in 2003.
Rashford, who struck in the 2-1 midweek cup victory at West Ham, has
scored six goals in his first 11 appearances for United, while it took
Ronaldo 40 matches to reach the same total.
“You can compare apples with pears, I think,” Van Gaal said. “I don’t
agree with what you want to suggest. We have to wait and see how Marcus
“Of course it is fantastic what Marcus has done until now. You cannot
compare with Ronaldo, though. He was not a striker at Manchester
United, I believe.”