Manchester United fans can’t seem to decide whether to laugh at Louis van Gaal or hate their own manager at the moment.
LVG still has a sniff of making the top four this season and, considering all their injuries, that would surely be considered a pretty satisfactory season. The finding of Marcus Rashford, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – even if more through luck than judgement – should be another reason for the Dutch boss to stay.
Whilst they are still competing in the FA Cup, United fans are fearful that victory in the oldest cup competition of them all could save Van Gaal’s job.
The football has largely been tedious, but a top four finish and some silverware is likely to keep the well-travelled manager in a job until at least the start of the season.
The panic will set in around June for Manchester United fans, you’d imagine, but maybe it isn’t all that bad…
It was an injury crisis that caused the influx of youngsters into Manchester United’s first-team, but Van Gaal still deserves credit for sticking with them.
Even since the return of more established names, the Dutchman has rewarded the excellent performances of his young contingent and the side has benefited from it.
Unfortunately a different manager would not be quite so forgiving of the occasional mistake made by younger players..
Only Tottenham have conceded fewer Premier League goals than Manchester United.
United aren’t exactly on course to break any records, but Van Gaal has managed to tighten up a defence that even Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t make watertight.
Chris Smalling’s improved form along with a defensively aware midfield have gone a long way to improving the side when out of possession.
Literally (just ask the Arsenal board); and Manchester United have always vowed to avoid becoming a ‘sacking club’.
Although it has helped Chelsea and Manchester City to success, constant change of manager costs clubs vast amounts of money, with severance fees and transfer fees flying out of the club on a regular basis.
Each new manager demands money to spend and, particularly when integrating young players, it takes time to have success. Van Gaal may need another year or two (although his contract ends in 2017) but it will surely be worth it if it helps develop this highly talented crop of youngsters.
A manager with as decorated a past as Van Gaal is bound to have connections around the world and Manchester United can always benefit from this.
Aside from their own iconic image, having such a high profile manager helps to attract players whether they are in the Champions League or not.
Players often move to a club because of the manager being someone they want to work with and, despite what many will think, Van Gaal will still hold that attraction.
The positivity surrounding all the debuts handed out by Van Gaal is understandable, but the manager’s experience has been invaluable in rotating his players throughout the season.
A relatively young squad can easily play too instinctively, but the wise, experienced head of Van Gaal has helped to keep their feet on the ground and avoid burnout.