Former Manchester United boss Tommy Docherty is adamant that his old side have no chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League this season under Louis van Gaal.
The Red Devils beat Crystal Palace on Saturday to move within two points of fourth placed West Ham, after a difficult start to the season.
Chelsea and Manchester City have been the Red Devils’ only two major clashes of the campaign, with the opening day loss to Swansea and defeat at newly promoted Leicester having knocked back early talk of a title charge.
Van Gaal was backed to the tune of £150m by the club in summer transfer market after replacing David Moyes, but Docherty told Goal that he cannot see the side he managed in the 1970s getting back into the Champions League for next season:
“Van Gaal must have arrived dreaming of winning the title, but that went out the window in the opening few weeks,
“I wouldn’t put any money on them finishing in the top four, to be honest. Unless they buck up their ideas, their best chance of getting into the Champions League is to swim the Channel.
“There is no doubt that Van Gaal’s record on the Continent is fantastic, but perhaps he hasn’t appreciated that the English Premier League is a different ball game.”
Docherty went on to say that Moyes was not given the time he deserved to get things right at Old Trafford:
“Moyes was treated very harshly at United, and this season is proving that,” he added.
“Van Gaal has spent a fortune in the transfer market, and yet despite having a worse record than Moyes at this stage, there is no clamour for his head.
“Injuries have not been kind to him, but I fear that Van Gaal will run out of money before he runs out of players if he is preparing another buying spree in January.”