While Louis van Gaal admits that Manchester United had taken ‘a backward step’ after their Champions League exit, the United boss still insisted that progress had been made during his time at the club.
Van Gaal, who has spent more than £200million on players in his 16 months at Old Trafford, stressed that the club have improved in that time despite getting knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday night after losing 3-2 at Wolfsburg.
‘At the moment I cannot defend myself because we are out of the Champions League. Everyone word that I say is the wrong word” said van Gaal.
‘But when you see the facts we went further in the Capital One Cup, qualified for Champions League group, we have played all these matches, and are still in a very good position in the league.
‘The facts say we are better than last year. That’s my answer because I can only give facts.
‘This year it cannot be. I’ve said that to the players. Now it’s over in the Champions League. They cannot show your qualities anymore in Champions League. It’s the highest podium and you can’t do that. They have to wait until next year. It’s a pity but we have a lot to fight for – the FA Cup and the Premier League.
‘Of course, it is a step backwards but you have seen today also a lot of youngsters who played very well in my opinion.
So van Gaal cites the League Cup as progress despite United losing their second match in the competition this year versus their first game last season. If that is progress, that is a really low threshold.
As for the league, after 15 games United have 29 points this season. Last year, United had 28 points. So a one point improvement. Is that really progress Louis?
Van Gaal can give all the “facts” that he wants. But United have not improved measurably this season. And that has to worry the United board, who look set to give van Gaal another huge transfer kitty in January. Has the United boss done anything over the last 18 months to show that he will spend that money wisely on players that can make a difference?