Saturday 18 November 2017

Louis van Gaal flies back to Holland amid growing speculation over his Man United future

Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United and former Chief Executive David Gill
Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United and former Chief Executive David Gill
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Louis van Gaal has returned to his native Holland amid increasing speculation that his tenure as Manchester United manager is edging rapidly towards a conclusion.

Van Gaal took the unusual step of cancelling training on Sunday, in a break from his usual routine that sees United players report to their Carrington training base for a light work out the day after a match.

While his move to attend his daughter’s birthday in Holland has been in the diary for some time, Van Gaal may have been tempted to remain in Manchester as the crisis over his future gathers momentum once again.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Southampton at Old Trafford saw the United fans turn against Van Gaal in their most vociferous manner yet, with the media coverage in the days since suggesting the ground may be shifting under the Ducthman from the club’s hierarchy.

The public comments from United non-executive director David Gill suggesting United are “under-achieving” under Van Gaal added to the suspicion that the tide has turned against the 64-year-old, who appears to be losing his will to remain in the job.

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“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans,” are the latest deflated comments offer up by Van Gaal.

“They have - or they had - great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them, so I am very frustrated because of that.

“You have to play football to entertain the fans. I don’t think we have entertained the fans, so they can be very angry.”

Many have viewed those words as evidence that Van Gaal may soon call time on his decorated management career, amid suggestions that talks are planned with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in the coming days to resolve his future.

Sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho the firm favourite to take over at Old Trafford if a change is made.

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