John Cross is the Chief Football Writer for the Daily Mirror, and London – particularly north London – is his patch. Louis van Gaal will not be the manager of Manchester United next season but should not be sacked now, John Cross told the Sunday Supplement. ‘’When United hired Van Gaal, we really knew what they were getting – methodical, slow and tiresome football. United were slow, passing sideways and were dull,” Cross said.
“This isn’t for the long-term, but to push the panic button now would be utterly bizarre. Yes, it’s been a disaster falling out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, but they’re still in the Premier League mix and I don’t quite understand the anger at this point.’’ “Get to February and we’re at this point, then we’re talking. But I don’t think that Louis van Gaal will be in charge of United next season – it has that end feeling to it.
“Some of the signings have been really poor, and I don’t think Van Gaal is making progress.”
It creates uncertainty at clubs when there doesn’t seem to be a plan – and I’m afraid at United, there doesn’t seem to be a plan.
“The plan was to give Van Gaal three years after the disastrous season under David Moyes. What you’re looking at under Manchester City is a long-term vision, into which they’ve tried to fit Guardiola on a couple of occasions.
“The problem with United is there doesn’t seem to be a vision beyond ‘can we not be what we were like under Sir Alex Ferguson?’
‘’There will be no second Alex Ferguson, and you’d have to restage the 20th century if you wanted another Ferguson. It’s not going to happen – he’s a product of his time.
“Other clubs are showing there’s much more sophisticated ways to recruitment and the academy – it’s all stuff that is following in City’s slipstream. It says to me that there’s just not a vision and not a plan for the future.
“I think United are stumbling around at the moment. They need a plan and they need to stick with it, and the one at the moment isn’t working.”
‘’United are a club that radiates a lack of direction. Even some of the signings – it’s like throwing paint at the walls. There is no plan,” he said.
“For a club of Manchester United’s stature – they are one of the biggest clubs in the world – some of it feels small. They feel like a club that hasn’t evolved from the Alex Ferguson era.
“They can’t let go, they can’t say goodbye and can’t get themselves out. They’re desperately trying, but they lack direction.
“They’re making an awful lot of money, but I’m not sure how clever people like Ed Woodward are in the transfer market.”