Thursday 14 April 2016

LVG: Will he stay or will he go? Managerial uncertainty goes on (1)

United's 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final win at West Ham on Wednesday kept alive our chances of silverware during another week when significant questions were asked about Louis van Gaal's future.

The experience is nothing new. 

Six times in less than four months, 64-year-old Van Gaal has gone into matches amid a backdrop of intense speculation.

On every occasion, the Reds have pulled out a positive result.

Yet rather than bringing to an end the fevered debate about who will be the club's manager next season, it has merely created a sense of uncertainty

Van Gaal is about to end the second season of a three-year contract he signed in May 2014 to succeed David Moyes - he thinks he should be allowed to get to the end of it. 

The men who will ultimately decide that judgement on Van Gaal's tenure - co-chairman Joel and Avram Glazer, plus executive vice chairman Ed Woodward - aren't letting on.

No one at United, even those inside the deepest corridors of power, can be entirely sure what is going to happen next at a club for whom managerial stability was taken for granted under Sir Alex. 

The Dutchman's first season was seen as a success as he steadied a ship in danger of going under to get us back into the Champions League but this year has been different.

While the effort expended in beating West Ham proved United's players are still prepared to battle of his behalf, Van Gaal's regimented approach, tactics and team selections have caused bewilderment in the dressing room.

Fans have voiced their disapproval on social media and phone-ins at what is perceived to be a negative and 'boring' style of football- and many want Van Gaal replaced because of this.

Yet Woodward knows sacking LVG would be a personal blot on his copybook as he took responsibility for his appointment, following the short-lived Moyes tenure.

There has been no public statement about what Van Gaal needs to achieve to remain in the job but - whether it be winning the FA Cup, securing the Champions League, or both or neither, the decision is anything but straightforward.

Many fans have been antagonistic towards the Dutchman and this could affect season ticket sales and secondly - if Van Gaal was to stay on-  could United realistically let him enter his third year given the uncertainty that would bring?

Ferguson felt it was a clear issue in 2002 when he reversed his retirement decision, saying his players had taken their foot off the gas.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has held talks with the club but there is no signed contract, nor has Woodward indicated when or indeed if there's likely to be one.

Reservations about Mourinho's style of football and general conduct were expressed by United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and there are also question marks about the Portuguese's commitment to youth.

With speculation about Laurent Blanc's position at PSG growing in the wake of their European exit, it could be dangerous if United wait too long. 

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