Goodbye Louis. Welcome Jose. Manchester United Will Be Back.
I don’t think there could be any clearer illustration as to why Louis Van Gaal perhaps shouldn’t be extending the lease on his Cheshire stockbroker pad anytime soon than 2 really strange performances from Manchester United in the Cup Semi Final and home league game against Leicester City.
Same Old Louis
In both games United started brightly, moved the ball quickly and created chances. They looked cohesive and had purpose but then almost on the 25 minute mark in both games, they switch off, start playing sideways and backwards and indulge Wayne Rooney in his personal desire to see how many cross field passes he can play in a game.
No reason, no impetus, just like a petrol Ferrari polluted with diesel, the whole thing comes spluttering to a halt, and that has to partly be laid at the players door for dropping down the gears, but also the manager who has seen this repeated in so many United games this season, on his watch, yet has failed to do anything about it.
I’m not anti Van Gaal, it’s hard not to enjoy his idiosyncrasies at times, the outburst, rudeness and sheer front of the man, but I do question as to whether he really knows what he is trying to achieve at Manchester United, and in a season where all of the big boys need to have a clear direction of travel to compete next season, I can only see more of the same.
Carrick, Rooney and Fellaini are an awkward looking United midfield 3 and although they fought and kept possession quite well for 20 minutes, none of these guys any longer have the legs or seemingly the sheer motivation to take United on in a game, to dominate, to bully and to turn the screw.
This is a real problem as Rooney and Carrick are arguably going nowhere in the summer. Fellaini will always be “the plan B’ in a transitional side, Herrera and Mata are lightweight, which leaves Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin, who are either at the end of their career or have yet to pull up trees at Old Trafford. Worrying midfield paucity over 6 names where Leicester have wrung every last drop from two incredibly effective performers in Kante and Drinkwater.
There needs to be a clear out, a new direction built around Rashford, Martial and De Gea.
Three players, along with Fosu-Mensah who should be United mainstays for years to come, but I wonder if Van Gaal will really revolutionise anything or use Fergie’s Carrick, Moyes’ Fellaini and big time charlies like Depay to build a future? I think that last idea is very unpalatable for United fans and I understand why.
Mourinho? Poch? Giggs? Three names mentioned to varying degrees as the man who can sweep the project aside and play with the verve and pace expected at the Theatre of Dreams.
I think Mourinho would be a no brainer. I’ve already said along with many others that this year has seen plenty of “come and get me” pleas from the Special One, and if he hasn’t learned in that time what United fans want, namely youth, pace and excitement, then he frankly deserves to fail if he gets his chance.
Giggs is the one who concerns me, too much talk of “he’s our Pep” is nonsense, he may be better, he may be awful but to compare 2 guys just because they were club greats who had a desire to manage their clubs is like suggesting David Moyes was the right man because he’s a gritty Scot in the Fergie mould. And would Poch really want to leave Champions League football for a side playing on Thursday nights? He’s been there and didn’t particularly enjoy that!
So for me Van Gaal has to make way for Mourinho sooner rather than later,
otherwise with Pep, Klopp, Ranieri, Conte and Arsene on the block, it’s not a given that a third “one step forward, two back” project from the Dutchman will guarantee anything other than top 6, a frustrating 2016/17 and a huge opportunity lost to get a proven manager, a proven winner, who yes has his baggage, but those bags include a Premier League and Champions League.
This is a risk more than worth taking, because one thing’s for sure, 20 minutes of attacking play with 70 minutes of inertia isn’t the United way now, wasn’t the way when they weren’t winning trophies and it won’t be in the future.