Schmeichel: Fans should afford Louis van Gaal time at Old Trafford

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes the clubs confidence has been shaken, but also has faith the manager Louis van Gaal is the right man for the job to bring the success back to his former club, where he is still employed in an ambassadorial role. The United legend will stand by the Dutch manager, and wants to clubs supporters to, even if the club fail to earn a place in the UEFA Champions League at the end of the season. The Dutchman’s side has not started well this season, despite winning all six pre-season matches. United were beaten on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League by Swansea City and have drawn twice against Sunderland and Burnley. They were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the second round at the hands of League One side MK Dons, which was a shock, but the side that started deserved it. It was a shocking display of football.


Schmeichel won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League in his eight years at the club. He feels that the 63-year-old manager needs to be given more time that David Moyes was afforded after he was sacked towards the end of April after  a series of poor results with the last being a 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park. Van Gaal has done more than Moyes already. He has signed six players, two of which are considered world-class, which was what the clubs supporters were asking for at the start of the summer transfer window. I am sure that is will all stabilise itself soon as injuries have not been too kind on the manager either, leaving his squad at bare bones before new additions were brought in. Schmeichel was reported by the Mirror as saying:

“I’m as disgruntled about our start as everyone else.

“The players lost a lot of confidence and belief in themselves. Last season, after winning the championship the year before, they went from one extreme to another.

“But I know Van Gaal can deliver.

“Time and patience must be given to the team and to him and to his philosophy. He has a plan with everything he does. He has proven himself time and again.

“He even won things with AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands which is like Norwich winning the championship. And when he was at Ajax he showed he has the same philosophy as the United one.”

Manchester United are currently 14th in the Barclays Premier League, earning two points in three matches and to add insult to injury, that 4-0 defeat by MK Dons in the Capital One Cup did not do the manager or the club much good, in fact it entertained the clubs rival supporters, which towards the end of the season, the laughs could be coming from elsewhere. Louis van Gaal has been back considerably by the Old Trafford board, he has spent £150 million this summer bringing in Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao, which is considered the best summer transfer history in recent times.

The fact that David Moyes was only able to spend £27.5 million on Transfer Deadline Day back in 2013 on former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini suggested that the club’s board may not have been fully in favour of the Scottish manager, but that is my opinion looking at what happened almost a year later. The fact that Van Gaal is a proven manager that has succeeded at each club he has managed, including finishing third in the FIFA World Cup with the Netherlands this summer, it shows that a winner is in charge of the club. He obviously has a big job on his hands and has started the rebuilding of the club under his philosophy, which when the squad has managed to fully grasp it, the results should start to happen. The target is for United to finish inside the top four this season, which would be a good result after last season. Schmeichel continued by saying:

“I am a United fan and I’d be quite happy to finish outside the top four. As long as we were going in the right direction. If the United culture was continuing in that we were playing entertaining football and winning games.

“Other fans might not be happy but for me these things don’t happen overnight.

“We’ve brought in seven players and he’s letting other players go. This is not what I and other Manchester United fans are used to.

“People talk about the end of an Old Trafford tradition with homegrown players going but that’s just the way football is.

“There’s a lot of sentiment about this, with people saying that’s not what Sir Matt (Busby) and Sir Alex (Ferguson) did. But football now is all about money and a quick fix. The Premier League is such a strong league and United can’t afford to be left behind.”

The former Danish international goalkeeper has stated that the deal which saw Colombian striker Radamel Falcao join the Old Trafford club from AS Monaco on a season-long loan was a great deal. Falcao has made 305 appearances at club level, scoring 200 goals, which is a great record for a striker. With the likes of Juan Mata and Angel di Maria in the side to assist the Colombian, I am sure he will start scoring goals almost instantly. Hopefully Falcao will make his debut against Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford in a weeks time. Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo, who was given a UK work permit this week, will all make their debuts at Old Trafford and Angel di Maria will play at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time as a Manchester United player. Schmeichel concluded by saying:

“It’s a very shrewd piece of business. I’m not sure where Wayne Rooney will play, and I can’t wait to find out when I watch our next game against QPR.

“Falcao at Old Trafford is a great signal to send to the rest of the footballing world. It shows United still attract the world’s best players.”

Peter Schmeichel was speaking at the Manchester United Flagship Barclays Spaces for Sports site, the Old Trafford Sports Barn, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barclays Spaces for Sports programme.


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