Louis van Gaal might not have many supporters left at Manchester United, but one man in particular is still behind him.
Legendary Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been speaking to Sky Sports this week, in a interview broadcast on Thursday evening, and the two-time Champions League winner was not shy in giving his opinion on the position the club currently finds itself in.
In a move that will undoubtedly bemuse most supporters, Ferguson has given his backing to van Gaal, insisting that fans should give the under-pressure manager some leeway as he will get it right with time.
The club has been in the wilderness trophy-wise since Ferguson departed Old Trafford in 2013, with only a Community Shield to show for three years and over £250m worth of player investment.
“It’s dead easy to be critical [about van Gaal],
“For 150 years of history, it’s worth having a couple of years on the quiet side of success because they will always come back and come back strong.
“You have to have some patience being a Manchester United fan and they have shown that over the years; in Matt Busby’s time, in my time.”
The 74 year old pointed to Man United’s extensive injury record this season as evidence that van Gaal was not to blame for the position the team finds itself in – playing catch-up in the race for the Champions League places:
“You have to be realistic about some things, the number of injuries he has had. Phil Jones has played only seven games this season, Ashley Young, Valencia, Shaw – these are big losses.
“It doesn’t matter which team you are, if you have players missing of that calibre it has to have an impact on the team.”
Ferguson went on to praise teen prodigy Marcus Rashford. Youth was always an important part of the Manchester United ethos under Ferguson and he revealed how happy he was to see it continue – in what could be a thinly veiled swipe at apparent LvG successor José Mourinho’s own horrendous record when it comes to youth development:
“Rashford is an example of what I think is Manchester United. They are the one club in England who will always identify a Rashford and give a young kid a chance. There is no better club in England at giving young kids a chance.
“Rashford is a sensation and one of the best in years.”
Van Gaal’s side face Everton in the Premier League this weekend before travelling to Upton Park for the final time to take on high-flying West Ham in an FA Cup quarter final replay.
If van Gaal is to have any hope of keeping his job for the final year of his contract, victory in one – if not both – is absolutely crucial.