Managerial musings: Should Manchester United stick with Louis van Gaal or move to Jose Mourinho?

I have come into a great deal of criticism and fallen foul of more insults than I care to shake a stick at in my unwillingness to call for the head of Louis van Gaal in recent weeks. And I will admit my stance has been harder and harder to maintain as results continue on a downward trajectory, it’s becoming more apparent that the club may well head in the direction of replacing the beleaguered Dutchman (if you believe what you read that is) and the name at the forefront of speculation is that of Jose Mourinho. And somehow in the following sequence of words, I am going to show how that would be to more detriment than good, and why things can get better under the current regime.

Now, I understand that the previous comments can paint me in some delusion. Currently things are in a worse than sorry state, results are wildly inconsistent as are performances. Louis van Gaal doesn’t seem to be able to do anything right no matter how hard he tries. But whether you like to admit it or not, deep down everyone knows the blame doesn’t lie solely with the manager. This is one resounding reason to why things can improve under his guidance. It needs a full shake up of board members and playing staff without the need to implement such drastic change for the third time in four seasons. The tweaks that need making can be made in the present scenario without the requirement of another change in style.

In spite of my support for van Gaal, I am not blind to the issues at hand. Attaining a place in the top four looks improbable and the implications financially and reputation wise of failure are large in stature. Morale is low both on and off the pitch, the mood around Old Trafford is repugnant at best. The club could not be blamed for acting upon it now in the desperate hope for a galvanizing effect. Unfortunately, if this were to happen the most likely candidate for the job is Jose Mourinho. And yes, you read me correctly.

Why unfortunately you may ask? His record speaks for itself, he has achieved great things wherever he has gone, he almost guarantees success at whatever club he rocks up at and knows how to win things and build a squad capable of greatness. But these are just the surface of what it takes to manage Manchester United, it is a job that runs deeper than success on the field. There is a legacy at Old Trafford, and one thing Mourinho doesn’t do is legacy. The absolutely incredible record of promoting youth will be seriously under threat with him at the helm. Something to be genuinely proud of snatched away in the desperate pursuit for instant success. Then there is the exciting football affiliated with United, lost under van Gaal yes, but it would be further from our grasps if Mourinho were to be given the job – they don’t call him Park The Bus for nothing after all.

Is the desire to have success instantly straight away really enough to compromise all that has been built over history? Match that with the only guarantees in life are death and taxes, and the fact the current squad is nowhere near good enough to mount such a challenge regardless of who is in charge and it’s a big price to pay on a possibility. Changes are needed, absolutely, but while there is stability at the club is the best time to act, not during another fresh start. And giving the job to someone that only stays on side for two full season’s before leaving in a blaze of ill feeling and fallings out with backroom staff is one of the most knee herl appointments imaginable.


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