Louis van Gaal says he has failed Manchester United fans who were right to boo the team
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal cut a frustrated figure after the loss to Southampton at Old Trafford and has dropped a hint that he may not last much longer at the club. The Red Devils lost 1-0 after new signing Charlie Austin scored for the Saints in the 87th minute and the Dutchman’s side was heavily criticised for their lacklustre performance.
For the 11th game in a row, United have not scored a goal in the first half. The win also made Southanmpton manager Ronald Koeman only the fourth manager ever to win in consecutive seasons at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
The loss was United’s sixth of the season in the Premier League and the team was booed off by a livid crowd at the Theatre of Dreams. The club have spent close to £250m since Van Gaal arrived in the summer of 2014 and, although they qualified for the Champions League this season, they were knocked out in the group stages itself.
They are now 10 points behind league leaders Leicester City after initially topping the table in September. They are also five points behind Tottenham Hotspur who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.
Manchester United fans are right to boo the team: Van Gaal
When Van Gaal was asked whether he wanted to continue as manager of the club, he replied: “This question I shall never answer.” But the loud boos at the end of the game suggest the fans have had enough and want change.
After the game, he said: “I’m very disappointed I cannot reach the expectations of the fans. They have, or they had, great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them, so I am very frustrated.”
“We want to be in the top three, and we’re not in the top three, and now, after today, our competitors have won, so it’s a setback,”
While United had seen an improvement in from since the festive period at the end of December, their performances were far from convincing. This loss only compounded their fears that this could be a repeat of the disatrous 2013/14 season when United finished seventh with 64 points after winning the league title the previous season.
With only 37 points from 23 games, they have won three fewer points than David Moyes did during his reign that season.
“They are right to boo,” Van Gaal said. “I cannot deny that, I saw the match.
“For better or for worse we have to stick together. We are working very hard, but we have had a lot of injuries. That you cannot change.”
United have underachieved this season: David Gill
The club’s United’s non-executive director David Gill also spoke about the results in recent weeks and admitted that everyone at the club was disappointed.
“Clearly we all hope the results will be better. Everyone’s disappointed, I feel as much as non-executive director as a fan,” Gill said. “This is undoubtedly a season of underachievement. I think everyone would agree with that given the investment that was made. Everyone there is working extremely hard to turn that round. It’s not easy.
When asked if Van Gaal would still be the manager in the near future, he declind to comment.
“It’s not for me, I’m not the spokesperson for Manchester United. I’m not going to be drawn on those questions,” he replied. “I’m not privy to the conversations. We had great success under Sir Alex Ferguson and we want that to continue.”