After the dismal performance against Southampton that left Manchester United languishing in fifth place and five points off the top four in the Premier League, fans booed Louis van Gaal off the pitch. With Jose Mourinho available and making his presence felt, could the game finally be up for the Dutchman?
The story of United this season has been one of the many odd surprises that have occurred. Many thought that Van Gaal’s second season in charge of the team would allow him to have moulded them into a side worthy of challenging for the title. Wayne Rooney was supposed to have his most prolific season ever as the lone striker and Memphis Depay was meant to be the signing of the summer. These speculations never came to fruition. Memphis has played 105 minutes in the last six games and Rooney has six league goals to his name all season.
Instead, United have become the most boring and unimaginative team in the league, with the manager even admitting it himself. Fans are devastated at what they are watching, after having been accustomed to going to Old Trafford to watch some of the most exciting football the Premier League has seen. It seems clear now that the fans want Van Gaal out, but what will the board do? Some pundits believe that Van Gaal should be given a chance until the end of the season. But in this day and age where managers have been sacked for much less, it could soon be the end.
Van Gaal has had a slightly longer tenure than David Moyes, but Moyes had a win ratio of 52.94% while he was in charge. Van Gaal’s win ratio is 50%. To put that in perspective, Sir Alex Ferguson’s win ratio was 59.67% and that was spread out over 1500 games. Many believe that, because there has been no vast improvement under Van Gaal, he should be for the chop. It seems unfair that Moyes wasn’t given more time to turn things around, especially seeing as he only spent £67.7million in transfers compared to Van Gaal’s £249.6million.
United’s FA Cup encounter with second tier side Derby County could prove to have a lot more riding on it than mere progression to the next round. If United fail to win this game it would surely be one of the final nails in the manager’s coffin, as Van Gaal is the firm favourite amongst bookies to be the next manager to leave his post.
Mourinho has reportedly sent a dossier to United’s owners outlining why he is right for the job. With such a coveted manager available and desperate to get back to work, would it be foolish for United to miss this opportunity? Or is there something the public don’t know? There is a chance they are holding out for Pep Guardiola, who has been the cause of much speculation of late.