Lowering Expectations – A Look At United’s Current State

Lowering Expectations

By Rohan Godse

  • Is sacking Van Gaal the answer to United’s struggles?
  • Are Manchester United being left behind Europe’s elite on the pitch?

Manchester United since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson have displayed a curious case of utter shambolic incompetence.

In the aftermath of their Champions League collapse, I felt the club had been left so far behind of the European elite that it would take a long time or a short miracle to get them back to their pedestal. Following their draw against PSV in November, I never expected them to progress anyway.

It is more worrying however that many fellow reds felt the same way. The expectation amongst the fans is at an all time low and the Internet, infested with the worst of us, takes more pleasure in a Manchester United defeat than a victory.

It is symbolic of a general acceptance of the brutal truth that we are trotting along towards obscurity within the Champions League places and never really challenging for pots anymore.

In recent weeks, I have experienced an air of change in the atmosphere among supporters. The chance to bag three points with a routine home win would normally be an occasion to relish.

In a strange paradox, the supporters do not seem particularly sullen after witnessing another underwhelming show. Is this evidence of a ‘lowered bar’ in terms of what we expect from Manchester United on a weekly basis?

It is important to realize how far United have come since the utter debacle of David Moyes. Louis Van Gaal has managed to weed out a lot of the negativity among the squad and has rejuvenated an ageing squad with some much needed youth impetus.

However, despite spending north of a quarter of million pounds he has significantly failed at building a squad that is capable of challenging on any of the four fronts. On most days I am happy if watching United does not put me to sleep.

So as it transpired in Germany, we are faced with a Europa League campaign, one seldom seen as a serious competition and almost always looked down upon.

However, this really should not be the case as it is central to our team’s chances this season. If things do indeed continue to remain the same then Van Gaal should not be trusted with any further money.

I’m no fan of van Gaal one tiny bit but after what he has achieved in his career he deserves to leave with dignity.

Woodward may be great at securing official noodle partners but it’s time we got someone in to help with the footballing side of  things. The problem with United is that we’re stuck in the past, constantly trying to replicate Fergie’s dynasty rather than moving with the times. The parallels with Liverpool are frightening.

The policies of Liverpool in the 90’s and the general boot-room antics, which led to them, appoint a spate of ill-advised managers and splurging on over-rated players can be seen at United currently.

Louis Van Gaal has spent a good fortune and yet left the squad somehow threadbare, bereft of confidence and playing utterly soporific football. This coupled with the utter incompetence of the erstwhile top management at the club threatens to send us back to the dark ages of Frank O’Farrell.

Since the home defeat to Norwich, United’s form has improved considerably and they have drawn two, lost one and won the rest.

However, if recent reports on Fanzine Forums are to be believed, United are still looking for a replacement in the summer, so it does seem that Louis Van Gaal will be gone sooner rather than later.

The club needs structural changes and people need to be put into place to assure than a change of manager does not cause more harm than good.

Sir Alex Fergusson always believed in the Manager being the ultimate authority at a club and that structure worked very well for him. However, he was a once in a lifetime manager and the current crop of ‘Modern’ football managers is not built up to be at a club longer than four years.

A succession plan needs to be in place when the inevitable happens and United are in need of a new manager. It pains me to suggest this but Manchester United need to look at the way Chelsea handles the departure of each of their ‘flavour of the month’ managers.

That is ultimately more important than just sacking Louis Van Gaal.

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