Problems mount at Manchester United
Angel di Maria’s future
Di Maria’s underwhelming form of late has led to reports that he is unsettled and could even move on in the summer. Prior to the game, the £59.7million record signing tried to quash some of this with an interview in the match programme in which he said, “I feel really good here, I’m very happy”. But after Monday’s game — and his needless dismissal — the questions were back. All has not been well, and United have not denied the recent attempted burglary at his house was unnerving. Things could settle over the summer but that remains to be seen.
Pressure on Van Gaal to deliver
Pressure is certainly growing on Louis van Gaal and his record to date is no better than that of his predecessor David Moyes, who 12 months ago was under considerable pressure and eventually sacked. There is a difference, however, in that expectations at the start of the season were different. Van Gaal did not inherit a side of champions, as Moyes did. With that in mind, and Van Gaal’s track record of success, there is less clamour to make a change now. The Dutchman is likely to get more time and more finance in the summer. He has started slowly in previous jobs and come good, like with the Netherlands.
Need to show signs of improvement
There have been signs that patience among United fans is wearing thin and improvement needs to be shown. The lack of attacking football and reliance on a slow-paced possession game has irritated and disgruntlement has been voiced. United are fourth in the EPL but many would argue that has a lot to do with luck as performances have not been great. Upcoming fixtures against Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City will have huge bearing on their quest for a top four spot. Failure to qualify for the Champions League — or even the Europa League — for a second successive season would be a huge blow to the pride. It would then be interesting to see if United’s stature is still alluring enough for the biggest names to sign for them. (Text: PA Sport)