Belfast Telegraph

Van Gaal 'has United's backing'

Louis van Gaal believes he retains the full backing of the Glazer family despite a difficult first year in charge of Manchester United.

The next five matches will have a big bearing on whether Van Gaal's maiden season at the club will be regarded as a success or failure.

United are two points inside the top four with 10 matches to go and after Sunday's game against Tottenham, they face Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Despite a run of three defeats in 23 matches, some supporters have complained about a lack of tempo, flair and width from Van Gaal's side.

But, crucially, the United boss thinks he still has the support of the Glazer family, who own the club, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

"I have faith that I can complete my three years," the United manager said.

"I think they are pleased with my way of managing the club."

Van Gaal proudly recalled the long list of successes to support his point at a press conference on Friday.

The Dutchman reminded those present that he had won silverware in his first season at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The 63-year-old also recalled the fact that he won the 2008-09 Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar a year after finishing 11th.

"I said I will (leave) but the (AZ) players came to my house to ask me to stay, and the board also," he said.

"Then we were the champion."

Van Gaal accepts it will be "very difficult" to win a trophy in his maiden year in England.

United are out of the FA Cup following their quarter-final defeat to Arsenal and they are 10 points behind Chelsea, who have a match in hand.

Van Gaal's sole task is bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford. The Dutchman has not contemplated what failure would cost United.

"No. I don't think I am here to think about the financial consequences. That is Ed Woodward. I am here to manage the professional football department of Manchester United," Van Gaal said.

"I am here because of my qualities and my philosophy. That we have spoken about in our first sessions with each other, Ed Woodward and myself. After that I have spoken with the Glazers. Because of those discussions I am here now.

"I am not thinking of the consequences if we are not in the first four. It is very bad for the club. But why do we have to speak about things that are not happening yet?

"We are longer in the top four than Arsenal."

Van Gaal is likely to receive significant backing in the transfer market regardless of where United finish.

Most of last year's signings continue to struggle. Angel di Maria cost £59.7million but his star has faded fast after an encouraging start.

British football's record signing is suspended for Sunday's match against Spurs after being sent off for tugging referee Michael Oliver's shirt in the defeat to Arsenal.

The Argentinian has also had to deal with off-the-pitch problems, most notably a house move after his Cheshire mansion was targeted by burglars in February.

Van Gaal insists Di Maria is happy at United and believes he will be at the club next season despite rumours of interest from abroad.

"As a manager you can never say no or yes because, in the end, the player shall always decide. But I don't think he shall move," Van Gaal said.

"Nevertheless, his incident with his wife at home, he is very pleased to be here at Manchester United.

"I think that he shall stay because his reaction after the defeat and the red card is very good. I like his attitude."

Van Gaal says his door is always open if Di Maria or any other player becomes unhappy.

"I am always like that," he said.

"That is part of my philosophy. A football player is not only a man who kicks the ball. Also, his environment is influencing him. I shall always be open for (that).

"I know also the commercial interests of the club and we have to respect that also because you cannot give a lot of money for the player and the next season you put him out of your selection," Van Gaal added.

"It is also the quality of the player. Then they also have to pay the sum."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph