Rio Ferdinand: Man United will not improve under Louis van Gaal
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes the club is moving backwards under coach Louis van Gaal and has urged the Old Trafford hierarchy to consider replacing the Dutchman before the end of his contract.
Van Gaal's has signed a deal to manage United until the summer of 2017, with club insiders confirming last weekend that they had every intention of standing behind their increasingly unpopular manager.
Yet a Champions League exit and a defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday has seen an increasingly vocal majority of the club's fans turn against Van Gaal, with Ferdinand telling The Sun that the veteran coach could be doing long-term damage to United's ambitions.
Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti are being mentioned as possible replacements for Van Gaal next summer, with Ferdinand hinting a change may be needed sooner rather than later.
"Manchester United are going backwards again and I don’t see that changing because the manager will not change," says the six-time Premier League title winner.
“Players are playing it safe because they are afraid of the consequences if they try to take chances. They have to be allowed to express themselves.”
Ferdinand went on to suggest United are in danger of finishing outside of the Premier League's top four, which could mean they miss out on transfer targets and possible high profile replacements for Van Gaal.
“The board and owners might want to be loyal to Van Gaal after investing so much in him, but they also have to do what is best for United," he added.
“If United finish outside the top four, that will be catastrophic. It might rule out the chance of getting either Guardiola or Ancelotti and the question is will they be able to do a better job than Van Gaal.
“It will be more difficult to attract the best players, too. The next six months are absolutely crucial.”