It seemed like Manchester United’s slide in the Premiere League was finally finished at the end of last season. United ended the season in fourth place, a massive improvement over their eighth-place finish a year prior and earning a spot in the UEFA Champions League play-in round, which they won.
Maybe, it seemed, Louis van Gaal’s unconventional tactics would work at England’s biggest club after all.
But approaching the halfway mark of his second season at the helm, the “magic” he worked last season is starting to wear off. The Red Devils have won just three matches across all competitions since late October. They’ve crashed out of the League Cup and the Champions League, thanks to giving up a goal right after they scored the advancing goal. Their three wins have come against West Brom, CSKA Moscow and Watford. And if it weren’t for the Premiere League being so strange this year, they would likely be much lower than fourth in the table.
With no end to this recent end in sight and with van Gaal’s age and tactics in question, it’s high time that those at Old Trafford start thinking about moving on from van Gaal and bringing in someone for the long-term success of the club.
Look, van Gaal is getting up there in age for a manager. He’s current at 64 years of age and likely won’t return once his three-year contract runs out at the end of next season. So why wait until the next year-and-a-half to start what likely will be another rebuilding process. Instead, bring in someone a bit younger and on the rise that can coach at United for a longer period of time similar to Sir Alex Ferguson and give a lot of stability to this program, which is what it so desperately needs.
Also, van Gaal’s peculiar tactics have got to go as well. I never understood why he would go with the 3-5-2 formation at the start of last year with a team that wasn’t ready for it. Some of his player decisions were strange as well — Chichario really should have seen the pitch more in his time at United. And he never takes the blame for anything. It’s always the players or the officials or someone (or something) other than himself, and that’s something that’s never good for a manager of any team to do.
Now, I’ll be honest and say that I don’t quite know who United should replace him with. I’m not really that familiar with the coaching landscape in European football. But I do know what type of coach needs to come in. He needs to be younger, but with success. Someone that will play players based on how they’re performing and puts his players in a position to be successful and accepts blame if something he tries ends up failing. Maybe he’d be like FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja. I think there’s a lot to like in Pareja’s style.
But something has to change. There really feels like there’s no end to the United slump in sight, especially losing to Bournemouth. And it’s just about time for van Gaal to finally go.