Louis Van Gaal to thrash out future after offering to resign

Dutchman due back today after flying to Netherlands following Southampton defeat

Louis van Gaal: The Dutchman returned to the Netherlands on Sunday but is due back for first-team training today. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

Louis van Gaal: The Dutchman returned to the Netherlands on Sunday but is due back for first-team training today. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

 

Louis van Gaal offered to resign as the Manchester United manager on Saturday following the dismal home defeat by Southampton but Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, persuaded him to discuss his future with his family.

Having returned to the Netherlands on Sunday Van Gaal will hold fresh talks with Woodward today when he is expected for first-team training.

At the meeting Woodward and Van Gaal will discuss the way forward but it is possible the manager could yet insist it is best for the club if he leaves.

Van Gaal admitted publicly for the first time on Saturday he had failed the United supporters, his comments coming after boos had accompanied him from the field at the end of the 1-0 loss. It was the first open revolt against him from inside Old Trafford and, because Van Gaal has often cited fans’ backing as a prime factor in his hunger for the job, it moved him to make the offer to resign to Woodward.

The 64-year-old did so in calm fashion and it is a measure of Van Gaal’s loyalty to Woodward that he agreed to think again.

Gauge the mood

Woodward is solely responsible for Van Gaal’s future and who will manage United. Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s most successful manager who is now a director, has no knowledge of Woodward’s thinking regarding Van Gaal. Woodward talks daily with Joe Glazer, the joint-chairman, and the American family will back Woodward whatever he decides.

When David Moyes, Van Gaal’s predecessor, was sacked Ferguson was unaware of the move and in his book, My Autobiography, made it clear other supposed powerful figures in the hierarchy were not consulted by Woodward either. Of a claimed hotel meeting, he wrote: “I would like to know which hotel, because I wasn’t there. Nor were [directors] Bobby Charlton, David Gill or Mike Edelson. ”

Van Gaal’s job has been reviewed by Woodward on a game-by-game basis after he came close to losing it following the 2-0 Boxing Day defeat at Stoke City, which was a fourth consecutive reverse and a seventh match without a win.

Although the next result, two days later, was a 0-0 draw with Chelsea the side’s determination to attack allowed renewed optimism. It was the start of a five-game unbeaten run, yet during this sequence United, apart from a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United, again failed to take the initiative in most matches.

They were fortunate to scrape a 1-0 win at Liverpool, as the team were once more devoid of ideas. At the weekend, United continued in their lacklustre fashion against Southampton. Van Gaal appears unable to inspire United to play with the tempo and attacking style the club’s tradition demands.

Van Gaal resigned from Barcelona in 2000 and reached a mutual agreement to depart the Catalan club three years later during a second spell at the club. He also resigned as Ajax’s technical director in 2005 and came close to walking away from Alkmaar when he managed the club from 2005-9.

Candidate

Jose MourinhoRyan Giggs
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