Louis van Gaal insists he loves proving his critics wrong – but has apologised for Manchester United’s exit at the group stages of the Champions League.
United’s performances this season have been widely criticised, with Van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’ coming in for plenty of stick.
Although our article urged United fans to stay patient with Van Gaal, we also accepted that United may need to consider replacing the Dutchman in the summer following the exit at the group stages of the Champions League.
However, responding to claims that Van Gaal is ‘past it’, the Dutchman said: “I have read already in the media that I am 64 and I am too old. Last year I was good enough to get Holland to third at the World Cup.
“I read the same things 20 years ago. When we went out at the group stage with Barcelona, they wrote the same thing – that my touch has gone. It is always like that. I cannot change that.
“I cannot change what is in your mind. I can only say the facts.
“The facts are this – we are out of the group stage, yes, I am very sorry. But I have done everything I could, as have my players and my board.
“But, you cannot win every game and every year a title.”
Van Gaal claims some of the criticism of his patched up team’s performance in Germany has been over the top.
“I didn’t see you say anything positive for (Guillermo) Varela or (Cameron) Borthwick-Jackson,” Van Gaal said of the two young full-backs who played on Tuesday due to an injury crisis.
“You can see that as a positive. Memphis (Depay) is 21, (Jesse) Lingard 22, (Anthony) Martial, 20… Still we could hurt the number two of Germany. But we have lost. I am sorry.”
When asked whether he had doubted himself following the loss in Germany, Van Gaal replied: “No, I don’t have any doubts.”
Van Gaal received yet more bad news on Thursday when Bastian Schweinsteiger was banned for three matches for violent conduct following an elbow on Winston Reid in the 0-0 draw against West Ham last weekend.