Carlo Ancelotti is no doubt one of the greatest football managers alive, but that fact didn't prevent him from being sacked from Real Madrid last spring. Jose Mourinho is another living legend, but his clout and legacy hasn't diminished the speculation that he's on the chopping block at Chelsea. The point is, even coaches who most everyone expects can't always keep their jobs in the high-turnover field of professional football club management. So, we ask are Manchester United supporters growing impatient with Louis van Gaal and could his job be at risk?
Louis van Gaal: Vulnerable at Man United?
Almost every Manchester United fan was hugely excited when the Dutchman was announced as the football club's new manager, ahead of the 2014 2015 season. The Red Devils had just gone through a nightmarish season with David Moyes at the helm, and Van Gaal, fresh off a successful World Cup at the head of the Netherlands national football team, seemed like the perfect antidote. Speculation of Man United returning to the top of the Premier League table was everywhere-not just in Old Trafford, but also from the mouths of virtually every soccer pundit.
This season, as the Red Devils have continued to be promising but inconsistent, it seems that United fans are beginning to become disenchanted with Louis van Gaal. In an article published on Goal.com following the October 25th Manchester Derby, soccer writer Kris Voakes criticized Van Gaal for a "non-football" management style and classified the mood at Old Trafford as one of "displeasure" instead of excitement.
No Good, or Just Good Enough?
The question is, are United fans displeased enough to push the board into reconsidering Louis van Gaal's employment?
On one hand, the Manchester Derby was absolutely disappointing. The Red Devils had the home field advantage, but only managed a 1-1 draw against their crosstown rivals. Furthermore, the soccer squad rarely tested the skills of City goalkeeper Joe Hart, failing to notch a single shot on goal during the first half of the game. They played with renewed vigor in the second half, but still couldn't convert their chances into goals.
On the other hand, Van Gaal is keeping United in the running for the league title. A win against City would have put the Devils in first, but their draw still only left them two points back in the standings. There is still a good possibility that United could win the Premier League come May 2016.
With that said, if Louis van Gaal fails to deliver the results that fans want to see this season-ideally a Premier League title, but at least a runner-up finish-then there is a possibility that his job could be in jeopardy come the summer break. Not winning titles is one thing, but the issue with Van Gaal-that he coaches a not-terribly-interesting incarnation of the Manchester United team-is quite another.
Indeed, as Voakes wrote in his Goal.com piece, United these days are more likely to be seen passing the ball around on their own half of the pitch than pressing into enemy territory. Manchester United may be staying alive under Louis van Gaal, but they aren't the entertaining and exciting football team that they were under the legendary Alex Ferguson.
Will Louis van Gaal be able to find a balance between winning games and coaching an entertaining football team? Or will his more calculated style of football continue to alienate longtime club supporters? Pick up a Manchester United shirtÂ at Soccer Box to support the Dutch manager and his high-potential soccer squad.