Louis Van Gaal | Can he do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?
It has been a long 6 months for Louis Van Gaal, at the start of the season everything looked so promising. Manchester United had hit the summit of the Premier League and were looking like they could grind out results like champions do and possibly mount a serious title challenge. The big difference was that this was without actually seeing a champion-esque inspired performance from The Red Devils, one could argue that the greatest performance of the 15/16 season was when the team travelled to Goodison Park and took on a "mourning" Everton team. Howard Kendall had recently passed away and this had overshadowed the pre-match build up, statistically this was a close game but having watched the game it was far from even. This was the antithesis of a "default" Louis Van Gaal performance, whereby Manchester United will usually dominate possession in an extreme, Barca way but creating chances the Bolton way.
9 Wins in the last 23 League Games
Louis Van Gaal is facing his toughest task yet. He was sacked from Barcelona in '03, a club who adored him after he brought them the European Super Cup, 2* La Liga titles and a Copa Del Rey in his first stint as manager. In his 2 years at Bayern Munich, LVG was penultimately sacked due to unattractive football and poor performances, this was after Van Gaal had won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Super cup. We should also note that he reached a CL final whereby Mourinho tactically beat him with an average Inter Milan side that were able to grind out results "the Mourinho way".
LVG goes into Saturdays match against Stoke having won just 9 league games from the last 23 league games, a Moyes-esque record if there ever was one. The media has slaughtered Van Gaal and his philosophy, seemingly jumping on the bandwagon driven by the few disillusioned fans that boo their club, team or player. The type of fans that wear Norwich scalfs and jump on any bandwagon just because they think they are die hards.
Support the club, not the players or the manager - the club. If Man United stick with Louis Van Gaal, then so be it, I want the club to win. I will never want the team to lose even if it meant that it would seal a managers fate. I will criticise a player's performance and a managerial style of play, tactics or team selection but I will never boo because of it. I am fortunate enough to have been a season ticket holder for the last 10 years and then an avid match goer with my father on his season tickets. I have only ever booed the opposition or the referee, I have never booed anybody wearing the Man United crest. Those that boo aren't real United fans, they are United fans that when they go home will have a "Messi" Barcelona shirt, "Ronaldo" Real Madrid shirt, "Riquelme" Villareal shirt and possibly (hopefully not) "Tevez" Boca Juniors shirt. They don't support United for the city, for the legacy or for the football. They support United because we were once a successful club with a bunch of serial winners in the team and at the helm.
"But I am a football fan..." say's the fans with the collection of shirts, would you wear a swastika and Nazi uniform if you wear fighting a war against them? Why don't you wear a Chelsea shirt with Hazard on the back, fabulous player that he is... It is because you don't do it, you are either United through and through or you're not a true fan. There can be legitimate reasons but then these United fans won't boo their club, players or manager. By all means have a voice and put your views of criticism across but don't do it to such an extent that it effects the club.
A prime example of this type of fan is the one who criticises Wayne Rooney, there are places on the web and circles of fans that will blame him for anything and everything. The fact is, Rooney like every single other player has not performed well this season. The fact that he earns more than anyone else is not a legitimate reason to hate him, he is a product of football and the money that the clubs receive from the TV deals is part and parcel of the players on the pitch. The fact that he wanted to leave after he saw the types of players we were buying is not a reason to hate him, he wanted to challenge for the best trophies and could see we weren't, since then we have won one league title, which was largely down to Sir Alex.
Rooney was right, we didn't buy cleverly "there was no value in the market", Sir Alex said (when Ozil went to Madrid for 15 Mllion euros...). Moyes took over and the team was full of nothingness, LVG has had to rebuild and rebuild he has, it hasn't been an easy task but he hit par for last season, gaining Champions League qualification. Rooney could very well be on his last legs but if we are to establish anything from the remainder of the season, we need to get behind the players that can make a difference. Rooney is one of these players.
The end result
Come January 2nd, Louis Van Gaal could be staring at 4 straight losses and no wins in 8 games or Manchester United could be looking at 2 wins in a row going into the match against Swansea, reinvigorated. If you noticed what I did there, when the club is not performing well it is down to Louis Van Gaal (classic media trick), when the club is performing well then it is down to Manchester United collectively. Share the burden please, it is just a shame that it is easier to sack a manager than all of the players.
I will leave this article with one last quote, from a captain and a champion.
"You need to win, and to win, you need Mourinho.” - Maniche