Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has suggested that expectations at the club are too high while labelling himself as “one of the best” managers in the world.
The Red Devils currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League table with three games remaining, as they trail rivals Manchester City by four points in the race to secure a top-four finish.
Meanwhile, they have the opportunity to end the season with a trophy when they take on Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final later this month.
However, that hasn’t been enough to avoid Van Gaal coming under intense criticism and scrutiny this season, as many believe that a club of United’s stature should be challenging higher up the table and in Europe.
The Dutchman tactician disagrees and believes that the level of expectations must be altered given the club’s current circumstances.
“I am happy to give the fans a final. Expectations are too high,” he said at United’s end-of-season awards ceremony, as noted by Sky Sports.
“We are in a period of transition. It is not so easy. We have to meet the expectations of the biggest club in the world.
“I am one of the best managers in the world. When the media is writing for six months I am sacked already… I can cope with that. It is not new for me. For my players, it is not so easy.”
Van Gaal has a point to an extent, as injuries and lack of form have forced him into fielding several young players as he continues to build for the future and put United in a strong position after he leaves.
However, considering the money he has spent since his arrival in 2014 and given how big United are as a club both on and off the pitch, there really is no excuse to suggest that they shouldn’t be competing at a higher level.
While few would argue that the Champions League was a realistic target this season, a group-stage elimination was far from what was expected.
Further, with the struggles of their rivals around them, there was certainly an opportunity to compete for the Premier League title or at least a top-three finish instead of a frantic scramble to qualify for the Champions League, which arguably looks unlikely at this stage.
Van Gaal has had plenty of issues hindering his progress this season, but suggesting that expectations are too high at a club such as United will only further anger supporters who will probably believe that they shouldn’t have to lower them regardless of the situation.
Having grown accustomed to winning trophies on a regular basis, United will hope that the FA Cup is merely the start of things to come as the pressure will certainly be on next season to make progress and raise those expectations.