The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

AS MANCH­ESTER United make their exit from the Europa League and face up to the prospect of no Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son, the im­age of Jose Mour­inho looms ever larger.

Louis van Gaal has been very suc­cess­ful in his ca­reer. But it isn’t work­ing out. We all look to­wards his fail­ings. We all ques­tion the tac­tics de­ployed, the for­ma­tions cho­sen, the play­ers he signed.

We should all look a lit­tle deeper into the sit­u­a­tion to dis­cover the an­swers.

In the be­gin­ning was his in­her­i­tance; LVG took over a squad that had been tuned by David Moyes af­ter Sir Alex’s de­par­ture. It could eas­ily be ar­gued that Marouane Fel­laini is not a typ­i­cal United player and that the ‘tun­ing’ was some­what ‘emer­gency’ ori­en­tated.

Then there is the youth; giv­ing youth its chance is fine but not ev­ery crop pro­duces Giggs, Beck­ham, Butt, Sc­holes, Neville and Co.

So LVG gets de­fined by the squad and youth struc­ture he in­her­its. He must feel the cards are stacked against him as he tries to de­liver upon the high­est ex­pec­ta­tions with the play­ers avail­able to him.

Peo­ple don’t want to hear ex­cuses. They want man­agers who can wave their wand and turn wa­ter into wine. Some­times, man­agers need enough time to buy enough grapes to build their own team. And that is not a quick fix.

We are all re­minded of how close Sir Alex came to the exit door be­fore he got United go­ing. I truly won­der what LVG will go on to achieve if he is shown a lit­tle more pa­tience now. He has done too much in foot­ball to not know what needs do­ing at United.

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