Belfast Telegraph

Van Gaal hits out at obsession over his future as boss

By Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal has insisted he is under more scrutiny than any other Premier League manager after claiming that only his future as Manchester United manager is the topic of debate after a 'frustrating' season.

Van Gaal, whose United team lie four points adrift of the top four ahead of today's home fixture against Aston Villa, is facing an uncertain future with the club facing a second campaign in three out of the Champions League if they fail to overhaul fourth-placed Manchester City.

But having promoted several youngster to the first-team squad this season, including Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Van Gaal admits he is bemused by the constant focus on his future as manager.

"I don't discuss that," Van Gaal said. "You can ask that every time, but I don't discuss it.

"I read only my position in the media, not the position of other managers."

United's inability to mount a sustained challenge for the title this season - the club has also struggled to spend any time in the top four - has left Van Gaal relying on FA Cup success in terms of delivering tangible evidence of progress on the pitch.

And although United face Everton at Wembley in next Saturday's semi-final, Van Gaal accepts that he will be judged on results at Old Trafford.

"As Manchester United, you have to get results," Van Gaal said. "It's like that. I am aware of that because I have always worked at the top of European football, so I know what can happen. And I don't want to discuss what can happen because I discuss that only with the board of Manchester United and not with the media.

"I have said for the club, it is much more important that we are in the first four (rather than win the FA Cup) because the Champions League is the highest level, and a club such as Manchester United have to show their abilities at the highest level."

With injuries to senior players forcing the elevation of the likes of Rashford and Fosu-Mensah, Van Gaal insisted he would not change his approach of blooding young players. But the Dutchman admits that the disruption to his squad has led to the inconsistency that has plagued United's season.

"It is our policy and you always have this situation (with young players)," Van Gaal said. "When you think you shouldn't have such big squads, you open the chance for youngsters.

"United and I believe in youngsters, which is one of the reasons why they selected me as coach."

Rashford's recent form has seen the 18-year-old score an impressive six goals in eleven games.

But Van Gaal laughed off comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, who took 40 games to score six goals for United.

"You can compare apples with pears I think, but I don't agree with that you are suggesting," Van Gaal said. "We have to wait and see. It is fantastic what Marcus has done until now but you cannot compare him with Ronaldo. He played another position, he wasn't a striker with United."

Belfast Telegraph


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