Gill: I went to the cinema rather than watch United on TV
Former chief critical of club’s playing style Pressure mounting after defeat to Southampton
David Gill has described Manchester United’s season as one of “underachievement” at Old Trafford as the pressure continues to grow on the manager, Louis van Gaal.
United were booed off following the 1-0 home defeat against Southampton on Saturday, with much of the supporters’ frustration aimed at Van Gaal, whose side failed to score at Old Trafford for the seventh time this season.
They are now five points away from the Premier League’s top four and a Champions League qualifying place, which is all a far cry from the day of United’s multiple title-winning days under Sir Alex Ferguson, who worked closely with Gill as the club’s chief executive before the pair both stood down in 2013.
Gill, who remains on United’s football board, along with Ferguson, said: “Clearly we all hope the results would be better and we are all disappointed with that.
“Undoubtedly it has been a season of underachievement given the investment that was made in the summer. But I know everyone is working hard to turn that round. It’s not easy running that club. It’s a difficult process. We have to turn it around ourselves.”
United stuck by Van Gaal over a testing period around Christmas when United went on an eightmatch winless run.
That support may be wavering, although Gill, while admitting that there are other good managers out there, would not be drawn on the future of the Dutchman.
He said: “Nobody likes to see that [the booing]. We need to stay calm and act with the club in mind in terms of its proposals and targets and where it’s moving forward. The wider point is for Ed Woodward and the owners to discuss which direction the club is going.
“If the NY board want to discuss matters with us, they will. We had great success under Sir Alex and we want that to continue. There’s great strength in the club, the deals that they’ve done has given a really stable base and everyone is working hard to bring back the success years. We all want that.
“You can’t stop the speculation. You just to have to be stable – you hear the distractions but you just have to have focus. We all speak about everything.”
As well as United’s disappointing results, the supporters have not enjoyed Van Gaal’s style of football, which has seen them score just 12 times at home in the Premier League this season, and Gill himself opted to go the cinema than watch a re-run of the game on Saturday on
Match of the Day. Speaking to BBC 5 Live’s Sports
week, he said: “I’m not going to sit here and say it’s that attractive. For me, what we did in the past was great. You have to have the players to do that. United, going back to the Fifties under Matt Busby, have had that – and I started supporting when we had George Best.
“We want attractive football and I’m sure we will try and do that going forward.”
United: Louis van Gaal and David Gill