Sir Alex Ferguson will not have a say in whether Louis van Gaal is sacked by Manchester United, according to the latest newspaper reports.
Daily Telegraph – no Ferguson involvement
It was reported on Tuesday that Ferguson had held talks with the United hierarchy to discuss if and when the club should sack Van Gaal, but the Daily Telegraph reports the Scot has not attended any such meetings and would not be expected to be part of any process to decide a successor.
Van Gaal, meanwhile, is said to have made it clear that he will not resign, forcing the United board to make the final decision on his future.
The Dutchman is ‘continuing to insist that he can revive fortunes’, reports the Telegraph, and made a speech to his players at their Christmas lunch on Monday calling for unity ahead of a key run of fixtures.
Daily Star – Van Gaal won’t quit
The claim that Van Gaal will refuse to quit is backed up by the Daily Star, which says the 64-year-old has two games to save his job, with United bosses demanding a marked improvement in both results and performances.
Van Gaal still has 18 months left on his £6million-a-year deal and will be entitled to around £10million in compensation should he be axed.
However, a United source told the newspaper: “It isn’t just about the money. The manager still firmly believes in himself and his ability to turn the situation round.
“There is no chance of him standing down. He’s a proud man who wants the chance to see the job through. Quitting would be like admitting failure.”
The Times – Mata and Herrera unhappy
It is reported in The Times, meanwhile, that Juan Mata and Ander Herrera may consider their futures at Old Trafford if Van Gaal wins his battle to save his job.
Mata and Herrera are said to be among those who feel stifled by Van Gaal’s tactics and are concerned about what the future holds for them.
While there is apparently ‘no prospect’ of the players leaving the club in January, they are expected to explore their options if Van Gaal survives the season.
Daily Mail – Van Gaal and players make peace
The Daily Mail repeats The Times’ claim that Mata and Herrera are concerned for the futures, in particular their places in Spain’s squad for the European Championship amid ‘confused playing roles’ under Van Gaal.
However, the newspaper claims clear-the-air talks between players and management resulted in ‘an agreement to work together in an attempt to get United’s season back on track’.
The latest exchange of views apparently focused on Van Gaal’s training methods, the nature of his strict regime and the tactics used by the team on matchdays.
United’s players believe the club’s crippling injury list is being caused by over-training and have asked the Dutchman to ease off in some of the sessions.
The newspaper adds that, although Jose Mourinho is angling for Van Gaal’s job, United are ‘reluctant to dance to the Portuguese coach’s tune’.
‘United believe they are a club of such standing and pedigree that they do not want to be dictated to by a manager who has lost nine times in the Premier League this season,’ it is said.
Daily Mirror – Mourinho to keep United informed
The Daily Mirror backs up the story about a meeting between Van Gaal and the players, which has apparently resulted in a renewed determination to turn the club’s season around.
More interestingly, the newspaper claims that Mourinho has been asked not to consider any job offers without first informing United as ‘Van Gaal is on the brink’.
United fear Mourinho will get other offers if they do not move quickly – and assurances to Van Gaal that his job is not under immediate threat will apparently go if the team loses at Stoke on Boxing Day.
The Sun – Van Gaal could survive
The Sun report that Van Gaal is ‘even closer to the axe’ after ‘high-level discussions’ at Old Trafford, not involving Ferguson, but the tabloid adds that the 64-year-old could yet see out the season if United sense any chance of luring Pep Guardiola to the club ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea.