The case for not sacking Louis van Gaal at Manchester United

It’s no secret that Manchester United has been struggling, really struggling. And a big reason for that is the managerial performance of Louis van Gaal. His rather lifeless, lackluster style of play has resulted in being winless in a little over a month. Many want van Gaal sacked but Manchester United shouldn’t sack him…at least not yet.

I know the writing is on the wall, unless there is a miraculous recovery, Louis van Gaal’s days at Manchester United are numbered. That point is indisputable. The issue is that if Manchester United sack van Gaal now, how will they be any better?

If Louis van Gaal gets sacked, the two main candidates to take over midseason would be Jose Mourinho and Ryan Giggs, and I don’t expect either one to magically turn things around for the team. Not to mention, are these two managers who would really be wanted at Manchester United?

Like David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the next person to take over United will no doubt be compared to Sir Alex Ferguson. While Jose Mourinho is a talented and accomplished manager, he is different than Ferguson in just about every way and fans would need to adjust after hating on him for so many years. Also, Ferguson thrived on building up talent through the youth teams and building a champion while Mourinho hardly ever goes for youth and until he was desperate at Chelsea, shipped off all his youngsters on loan.

Even in how they both treat officials and the FA is different, similar but different. Both people weren’t afraid to speak their mind if things went against them but Fergie was at least civil with it and didn’t go into too personal attacks. Mourinho says that it’s a conspiracy when referees and the FA go against him and says these things more to take some of the pressure off of the players. Will Manchester United want that kind of publicity?

And if you think Ryan Giggs is going to be the short term savior, that likely isn’t going to happen either. Sure, he has a 2-1-1 record from when he took over under David Moyes and fans will probably take it easier on him since he’s a living legend, but he’s only had four games experience as a manager and he would be stepping into a situation where he has to lead the most popular and high profile team in the world into trying to get a Champions League spot. This is far different than when he first took over and United already knew they weren’t going to Europe.

Also, if United hire Giggs in the interim, they’re going to have to keep him long term or risk him leaving to go somewhere else. Maybe Giggs will be loyal to his team but loyalty has limits when you’re getting passed over for a second time after you temporarily take over the team.

Manchester United is in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. They are in a close battle for a top four spot and sacking van Gaal could make the difference. The only issue is if they pull the trigger now, their choices are likely either Jose Mourinho or Ryan Giggs and their long-term future could be at stake. If they have any remote interest for anyone else, including a certain manager in Germany who just announced he was leaving one of the best teams in the world, United should hold off and sack van Gaal at the end of the season. And besides, even though Manchester United are playing terribly, the other teams around them are doing just as well. Even with van Gaal at the helm, United could still make the top four.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp