Former Arsenal striker John Hartson feels that Louis van Gaal is failing at Manchester United.
The Dutch manager’s side were knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday after suffering a 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg, leading to a backlash from fans and the press.
Van Gaal has spent over £250 million on new players since succeeding David Moyes last year but Hartson has criticised van Gaal, suggesting he’s living on his reputation at past clubs.
“I am sorry but I do not agree with that,” he said.
“I think that he is living on his reputation. Whatever he has done in the past at big clubs, he is not doing it at United.
“I do not think that they have gone forward from the David Moyes era. Louis van Gaal has had all that money to spend, and he has failed. They lost their very first game in the group, then failed to beat PSV at home, and only struggled to a win over Wolfsburg at home before tonight.”
Hartson is a bit harsh in his assessment because what van Gaal has done well is steady the ship. Moyes left the club in absolute disarray but Louis has brought a strong element of stability back, so we’ve definitely progressed in that respect.
The problem is that we’ve stagnated. While the ship was progressing at one point, it has been docked in the harbour for the last two months and looks to be anchored down by van Gaal’s almost religious loyalty to his own philosophy and style.
That stubbornness to change has almost certainly contributed to the stagnation but the players not playing good enough has as well, so there is a collective blame here.
We will see against Bournemouth whether United intend to break that norm or if van Gaal is happy to continue plugging away with his process to the detriment of entertainment, in the hope that those 0-0 draws can be turned into 1-0 victories.