Football

Wenger tells United: Van Gaal deserves respect

Wenger urges United to give LVG more time, says Pep wrong to announce Bayern exit so soon

Arsene Wenger has suggested Manchester United's treatment of manager Louis van Gaal is "disrespectful", as speculation continues over his future.

Conflicting reports have suggested the Dutchman is set to lose his job at Old Trafford in the coming days, while others say he may still see out the season.

Only two weeks ago, United were saying van Gaal would be at the helm for the remainder of his contract, which expires at the end of next season but, since then, the club have gone on a woeful run.

Van Gaal's situation has come under intensified scrutiny since Chelsea sacked Jose Mourinho last week - with many putting two and two together and suggesting he would be the man to be installed as the immediate replacement at Old Trafford, should van Gaal be ousted.

United have not won in six games and a home defeat by Norwich last Saturday was their third loss in succession, leaving them outside the Premier League top four after being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage.

The Red Devils travel to Stoke on Boxing Day on Saturday and it remains unclear if van Gaal will be at the helm - but Arsenal boss Wenger (above), whose side outclassed United in a 3-0 win earlier in the season, believes past successes mean the former Holland coach should be given time to address the issues at the club.

Speaking of Mourinho's sacking and his next managerial move, Wenger launched a defence of van Gaal amid speculation he will be replaced by the former Real Madrid coach.

When asked if he could see Mourinho turning up at Old Trafford, Wenger replied: "I do not want to go into a world of speculation.

"I personally have huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful.

"This guy has worked for 30 years in football and has delivered unbelievable quality of work. It is a bit disrespectful what is going on there.

"A lot has been made on that (Mourinho's departure), and I do not need to add anything.

"I do not want anyone to lose their job. My personal feelings on that front is that it is always sad when someone loses his job."

The waters are clouded further by the fact that Pep Guardiola has revealed he will be leaving his post at Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

He has been tipped to make a move to the Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester City both heavily linked with the 44-year-old and the likes of United also likely to be interested, but Wenger feels Guardiola was wrong to make an announcement over his future at such an early stage.

"Yes, I would welcome (him) to the competition," Wenger replied, when asked if he would encourage Guardiola to come to England.

"Personally I don't like the fact that the managers come out so early for what they will do, because it's not necessarily good for their own team, nor for the speculation about the managers who are going through a little bit of a difficult patch. But after, of course.

"He is of course a top-quality manager, nobody would dispute that. Not so much for what he has won already, because Bayern won before and Barcelona still win today.

"But I think about the positive attitude he has towards the game and the fact he wants his team to play football in a positive way. I respect that highly." 
- PA Sport.

RESULTS MORE IMPORTANT THAN REPUTATION

Mark Hughes does not expect Louis van Gaal's reputation to save him if his Manchester United side continue to under-perform.

United boss van Gaal is under heavy pressure at Old Trafford after a sequence of poor results and an even longer spell of uninspiring performances.

Jose Mourinho, who left Chelsea last week, has been heavily tipped as a potential successor, should United decide to sack the veteran former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Holland manager.

And Hughes (below), a revered former United striker, could turn up the heat even more if his Stoke team condemn van Gaal's men to a fourth successive loss on Boxing Day on Saturday.

Hughes said: "I said last week when Jose lost his role that no one is immune. It doesn't matter what you have done in the game previously - and his record as a top-line manager is exceptional - you have to win football matches.

"He has been in the game a long, long time and he knows better than most if the results and perception is you are not doing particularly well, you come under pressure. He understands that. We all do."

United have lost their last three games in all competitions and not won in six - a run which has seen them eliminated from the Champions League and slip to fifth in the Premier League.

The team were booed off after losing to Norwich last Saturday and Hughes is well aware of the expectations fans have at United.

He said: "With all United teams, there is a responsibility and an onus on the players to go out and perform and play like United players, and understand what the demands of being part of a big club like United entail.

"There's a responsibility to entertain, I would suggest. That's always been the Manchester United way.

"It's always been woven into the fabric of the club and the players who have put the shirt on. It's a huge demand to play for Manchester United and a lot of players can't deal with it.

"People go to United in numbers and, if the level of performance isn't correct, then they will let their feelings be known."

This season is the third of relative under-achievement at Old Trafford since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson as manager.

Adding to the pressure could be the number of former United players, from the glory years under Ferguson, who are now commenting on the current side as media pundits.

Hughes, speaking at a press conference, said: "People at United know that they're in a period of transition since Sir Alex left, and that they're on a different cycle now.

"A lot of key players who were there for many years are still around the place, but obviously not on the field of play, so that's having an impact as well.

"A lot of things are changing and these periods of success are a cycle, and when it's closed somebody else starts a cycle. United might have to wait to get back to the level they were at before." - PA Sport.

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