I actually had another blog post lined up for last month on LVG but I didn’t get around to finishing it. It was on whether he should be sacked and the reasons for and against. That was right after the Norwich defeat and actually since then, things have got worse. In my opinion, LVG’s position in untenable and I’m surprised that he hasn’t left/been sacked already.
I went to the game last Saturday against Southampton and it was just abysmal. In many ways, Charlie Austin’s goal didn’t even matter because there would’ve been serious boos at full time if it had finished 0-0. Also at the moment draws aren’t good enough because Tottenham and Leicester are winning every week and pulling further and further away.
The performance was probably the worst I have seen in a long time, worse than the PSV game at home. Daley Blind’s 35-yarder was the only shot on target in a what was an abject game and it was something we’ve seen just too much. After the game, I let off some steam on Twitter, which you can see here:
It’s fair to say I wasn’t best pleased. Van Gaal has come out with some strange quotes over the last month or so, since the pressure has been on. After the 2-0 defeat to Stoke, he said: “It is not always the club has to fire me or sack me. Sometimes I do it by myself.” When I heard him say this, I thought he was definitely out the door but he ended up staying.
Now he’s said this about the fans: “They have- or they had- great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them.” I really don’t understand why he is saying something like this- surely this means he has to go? If you can not meet the expectation of the fans, you simply should not be there. It’s not like they’re asking you to win the Champions League. The general expectation of the fans at the start of the season would’ve been to put up a decent challenge for the league. That shouldn’t be out of the question when you spent £105 million on new players in the summer.
Also an expectation would’ve been to play exciting football. In LVG’s defence, we all know that’s not his style. If the performances were just ok, but they were seriously challenging the title, I imagine the fans would be content. But the results are getting worse and the performances are just really poor as well, which is a recipe for disaster.
So if LVG doesn’t think he can achieve what the fans want, that puts his position as manager untenable. I’m sure he’s said in the past that the fans are the most important thing at the club, so if you can’t please them, why are you still there?
There have been continuous reports that he has asked to resign twice; after the Stoke game and after Saturday (although the BBC and Sky Sports deny the latter). I think he has seriously considered stepping down over the last month or else he wouldn’t be saying the kind of stuff I’ve mentioned.
I now think his position is untenable because I don’t see things getting much better. The football is clearly what he wants because the team’s played in this style since he came in. LVG has brought in European, possession-based football, which has been successful in his previous countries. However, the Premier League is a truly unique league and his methods are not working and he won’t change them. That is the key thing for me- that he is not willing to change or adapt. If the style is not working, you have to try new things or else you just won’t get anywhere.
I’ll be surprised if he makes it to the end of the season if things carry on the way they are. The fans are getting more and more restless each week and it’s going to take a lot of improvement on the pitch to get them back on side. Do I see that improvement coming? Not at the moment, I really don’t.