Louis van Gaal has told Manchester United fans to deal with their Champions League exit by warning them not to compare the side to 10 years ago and expect them to win trophies.
United crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage on Tuesday when they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg.
Van Gaal’s critics again railed against the Dutchman in the wake of the defeat.
But if United fans were looking for a rallying cry from their manager in the wake of the humbling defeat, they did not get one.
Van Gaal was asked at a press conference on the eve of United’s trip to Bournemouth whether he could make up for the club’s Champions League exit by winning the Premier League.
“No. It is difficult,” the United manager said.
“You (the media) want to raise the expectations. We shall do everything to win something but it is very difficult.
“For the fans it shall be like that. But I want to manage the expectation. It is not as easy as everybody thinks.
“You can see what is happening in the Premier League every week. It is not so easy.
When questioned further, a defensive Van Gaal said: “You have to analyse the club as it is now.
“You cannot compare it with 10 years ago, because there is an evolution in football and in European football.”
Van Gaal was criticised heavily for failing to lead Barcelona out of the group stages 18 years ago, and he responded by winning the Spanish league.
To achieve the same feat in England with United will be harder according to the Dutchman, who thinks the gap is closing between the clubs at the top and bottom of the Premier League and across Europe.
“The world has changed,” Van Gaal said.
“In 1997 I was out of the group stages with Barcelona. They are also a big club, there was also a lot of criticism in the media. But then we won the title. That was minor criticism at that time.
“Only one club can win the Champions League each season. It is not so easy to do that, now.
“Then three or four clubs had great money. Now we have much more clubs who have the money.
“It is the same in the Premier League. Next year, all the clubs in the Premier League have a bigger budget than most of the clubs in Europe.”
What do you think about Van Gaal’s quotes? Is he right to play down expectations – or is that simply not the Manchester United way?