Louis van Gaal has “taken everything good” away from Manchester United and has ruined several of their players, according to Neil Custis.
United face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday looking to keep alive their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League after one possible route into the Champions League was ended by the Europa League exit to Liverpool.
Custis, however, has little faith in Van Gaal leading United to the necessary points over the last nine games.
“[Van Gaal] has quite frankly wiped the smile off the face of Manchester United,” The Sun journalist told the Sunday Supplement.
“He has taken everything good about them away from the club and the height of how deluded he is is incredible because he doesn’t see what he’s done.
“He’s ‘Van Gaaled’ so many players they might never be the same again. Players like [Marcus] Rashford, first two games he was brilliant, then Van Gaal had about three weeks with him and he’s hardly touched the ball since!
“These players who have natural ability like Angel Di Maria, Van Gaal gets a hold of him and suddenly, where’s this player gone? It’s going to take about six months for these players to remember what it was like to be a natural, free-flowing footballer, because he’s taken that away from them.”
Custis believes United should have sacked Van Gaal after their defeat at Stoke City on Boxing Day and has warned the club could face a period without a title as long as the one Liverpool have experienced unless they act soon.
“They’ve won 14 games in the last 35 in the league, it’s astonishing,” added Custis. “They’ve got the worst points total now for 30 years, they’ve managed the almost impossible in that they’ve been humiliated in two European competitions this season, not just the one. They’ve played 10 in Europe and won three.
“People are trying to point the finger at Ed Woodward, if anybody has been let down over this whole saga it’s him who has been let down by Van Gaal. He’s given him everything he’s wanted to get the job done, he’s bowed to his every whim.
“They cannot possibly let this go on, they should have made this decision after the Stoke game [on Boxing Day], and they would have had a chance to get in the top four. As it is they’ll probably finish mid-table, it’s just been such a mess.
“United have to quickly get back to challenging for the title or they’re going to end up like Liverpool.”