Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill has criticised Louis van Gaal's side for under-achieving during the current campaign and indicated that they have betrayed the club's traditional attacking style.
United lost 1-0 to Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday, falling five points back from the top four and further threatening their Champions League status for next season.
Gill, who remains a director at the club, admitted after the clash that United's results are not good enough—especially considering the huge investment made in the squad under Van Gaal—and called for a reversion to the attacking style the club is famed for, per the BBC (via the Guardian's Jamie Jackson):
Clearly we all hope the results will be better – everyone’s disappointed. [...]
[This is] undoubtedly a season of underachievement. I think everyone would agree with that given the investment that was made. [...]
I don’t want to talk about quality [of football]—but I’m not going to sit here and say it’s that attractive. For me, what we did in the past was great—you’ve got to have the players to do that. The Ryan Giggs running down the wing, [David] Beckham etc, [Paul] Scholes. Manchester United going back to the 50s with Matt Busby, when I started supporting them, with George Best, they played in a certain way. I’m sure we want to do that. We want attacking football I’m sure that will be a key part going forward.
United's home defeat to the Saints was their first loss of 2016, but the performance was typical of many during the Dutchman's tenure, lacking any attacking verve or creativity.
Per the Sunday Times' Jonathan Northcroft, it is difficult to defend Van Gaal's record at the club:
By all meaningful yardsticks Van Gaal is failing. Results. Entertainment. Recruitment. Development. Whenever he gets momentum it disappears.— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) January 23, 2016
Their lack of goals this season has been quite startling. Indeed, United have never been as ineffective in an attacking sense in the Premier League era, per BBC Sport:
Calls for Van Gaal to be sacked will undoubtedly increase if there is not a quick turnaround in form following United's latest loss, and despite Gill's calls for "calm," it would be no surprise if he did not survive until the end of the season.
Should Van Gaal be sacked?
While the results have not been good, the biggest gripe for United's fans is the ponderous, boring style that the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has installed at Old Trafford.
In the main, despite bad results, the United faithful kept patience with David Moyes during his short tenure as manager because his side did play some exciting football.
That is far from the case with Van Gaal, and there are seemingly few now at Old Trafford who would be sad to see him moved on.