Louis van Gaal won't promise title following Champions League exit
Published 11/12/2015 | 11:36
Louis van Gaal wants to "manage expectations" at Manchester United and stressed there is no guarantee he will win silverware this season.
United crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage on Tuesday when they suffered an embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg.
Van Gaal's critics again railed against the Dutchman in the wake of the defeat.
Paul Scholes labelled United ''average'' while his former team-mate Rio Ferdinand said dropping into the Europa League was ''an embarrassment''.
But if United fans were looking for a rallying cry from their manager in the wake of the humbling defeat, they did not get one.
Van Gaal was asked at a press conference on the eve of United's trip to Bournemouth whether he could make up for the club's Champions League exit by winning the Barclays Premier League.
"No. It is difficult," the United manager said.
"You (the media) want to raise the expectations. We shall do everything to win something but it is very difficult.
"For the fans it shall be like that. But I want to manage the expectation. It is not as easy as everybody thinks.
"You can see what is happening in the Premier League every week. It is not so easy."
Van Gaal was criticised heavily for failing to lead Barcelona out of the group stages 18 years ago, and he responded by winning the Spanish league.
To achieve the same feat in England with United will be harder according to the Dutchman, who thinks the gap is closing between the clubs at the top and bottom of the Premier League and across Europe.
"The world has changed," Van Gaal said.
"In 1997 I was out of the group stages with Barcelona. They are also a big club, there was also a lot of criticism in the media. But then we won the title. That was minor criticism at that time.
"Only one club can win the Champions League each season. It is not so easy to do that, now.
"Then three or four clubs had great money. Now we have much more clubs who have the money.
"It is the same in the Premier League. Next year, all the clubs in the Premier League have a bigger budget than most of the clubs in Europe."
If Van Gaal does achieve the improbable and lifts the Premier League trophy at the end of May, he will probably enjoy it more than any other triumph in his career.
The Dutchman loves proving his critics wrong, as he pointed out on Friday.
"I have read already in the media that I am 64 and I am too old. Last year I was good enough to get Holland to third at the World Cup," he said.
"I read the same things 20 years ago. When we went out at the group stage with Barcelona, they wrote the same thing - that my touch has gone. It is always like that. I cannot change that.
"I cannot change what is in your mind. I can only say the facts.
"The facts are this - we are out of the group stage, yes, I am very sorry. But I have done everything I could, as have my players and my board.
"But, you cannot win every game and every year a title."
Van Gaal claims some of the criticism of his patched up team's performance in Germany has been over the top.
"I didn't see you say anything positive for (Guillermo) Varela or (Cameron) Borthwick-Jackson," Van Gaal said of the two young full-backs who played on Tuesday due to an injury crisis.
"You can see that as a positive. Memphis (Depay) is 21, (Jesse) Lingard 22, (Anthony) Martial, 20... Still we could hurt the number two of Germany. But we have lost. I am sorry."
When asked whether he had doubted himself following the loss in Germany, Van Gaal replied: "No, I don't have any doubts."
Van Gaal received yet more bad news on Thursday when Bastian Schweinsteiger was banned for three matches for violent conduct following an elbow on Winston Reid in the 0-0 draw against West Ham last weekend.
Nine players - including captain Wayne Rooney - are out of Saturday's game at Bournemouth, so Varela and Borthwick-Jackson could start against Eddie Howe's team.