Gary Neville firmly believes Louis van Gaal should not be sacked as Manchester United manager if the club fails to finish in the top four.
Van Gaal’s objective this season was to finish in a UEFA Champions League spot to bring European football back to Old Trafford next year but with fierce competition in the league, there is no guarantee Man United will finish inside the top four.
Against that objective, van Gaal’s first full season could be deemed a failure but Neville is confident the Dutchman has the right tools to rebuild United.
“It would be a terrible season for Man United and Louis van Gaal. He would probably say it was a big failure because he knows his job this season.
“He has to get in the Champions League but, on the other hand, if he didn’t, no, you can’t just sack a manager one year and then sack another manager the year after. Where do you go from there?
“There has to be a level of continuity. I absolutely believe this time there will be continuity at Man United and they will stand by him even if he doesn’t finish in the top four and that’s the right thing to do.”
It’s going to be a tight finish in the race for the top four but Neville is confident United can secure themselves a spot back in the Champions League next year.
That being said, Neville is well aware that United really need to improve their performances from their current levels which has seen them struggle against the likes of Burnley, Cambridge Town and Preston North End.
Unlike under David Moyes, United’s top four hopes are still alive going into March and it is all in their hands. That in itself is an improvement but not enough to leave United in a comfortable position going into the business end of the season.
Neville is right that van Gaal shouldn’t be sacked because getting rid of two managers in as many years would leave United in genuine danger of slipping into the same pattern which dragged Liverpool down from their perch back in the 1980s.
The run-in is going to be difficult but van Gaal has deal with plenty of high pressure situations before, so here’s hoping he can help see United through this one this season.