Van Gaal will blame Paul Scholes if he is sacked
Louis van Gaal will hold Old Trafford icon Paul Scholes responsible if he gets sacked next week, writes Steve Bates in the Sunday People .
The Manchester United boss is furious that
former Reds midfielder Scholes has mounted a season-long campaign undermining his position at the club.
And privately, Van Gaal believes Scholes – now a BT pundit – has turned a large section of United’s supporters against him with constant criticism.
And as he went into the final week of the season, with a must-win home game against Bournemouth on Sunday to keep alive slim hopes of Champions League qualification, the Dutchman made a thinly-veiled attack on Scholes.
“Of course all this speculation about my future for six months makes me angry. I have shown that many, many times,” he said.
“You are asking and you know already my answer! It’s rhetorical, I think.
“I have shown that and I am an open book for everybody.
“I have said that, but in spite of the attacks of the media – and not only the media, the legends and other kinds of people – I am here and I am fighting.
“And I believe in myself. I believe in Manchester United. I believe in the players.
“I hope that everybody is believing like me, then it is much more easier.”
Van Gaal also believes that if he is sacked after the FA Cup final at Wembley next Saturday, supremo Ed Woodward will have gone back on his word.
The 64-year-old has told close aides he has been reassured by Woodward that his job is safe and that no deal has been struck with Jose Mourinho on three occasions already this year.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss is believed to have directly challenged Woodward about speculation that the club have met Mourinho and are ready to appoint him if United fall short of their Champions League target.
I understand Woodward told Van Gaal more than once that no decision had been taken to replace him.
If top four rivals Manchester City draw or win at Swansea in their final game on Sunday, when all 10 fixtures kick off at 3pm, they will grab the final Champions League spot.
But in recent weeks Van Gaal has been increasingly bullish that he will be in charge at Old Trafford next season – with or without Champions League next season. And he’s as certain as he can be that talk of Mourinho’s arrival has been overblown.
“I have the impression that I am still here, otherwise I can’t say all the things that I have said. But in the football world, you never know, and I have seen that before” said Van Gaal.
“I feel I am staying, otherwise I wouldn’t say that. But still, in football, that can change.”
The United boss refused to confirm or deny that he had pulled the plug at the last minute on United’s pursuit of Benfica whizkid Renato Sanches , who has now joined Bayern Munich in a £28million deal.
If he did, it shows a level of control you wouldn’t expect from a manager who is seen in some quarters as a dead man walking.
“You have to believe me that, when I am here, I am still the man in charge. Otherwise, I go – believe me!” said a steely-eyed Van Gaal.
“Every club [he has worked for], I have done that. You can ask – Bayern Munich or Barcelona, also the Netherlands Federation.
“If a player doesn’t sign it’s always my fault but I can’t discuss that with the media, I’m sorry. I discuss that with my board and my head of scouting because when I discuss it with you then a lot of fans shall interfere.
“They all have their own opinion, and that can’t be. You can’t manage a club like this by revealing all the details about a transfer or not. It’s not possible.”
Meanwhile, Van Gaal believes if United win the FA Cup against Crystal Palace next Saturday then, for him, it will have been a successful season.
“I think success is in the eyes of the man or woman who are seeing that,” he said. “It’s different for everybody.
“When you have expectations that United has to be champions, then you’re disappointed. But when we qualify ourselves or win a title, I am satisfied.
“But in the eyes of some fans, or many fans, that’s not enough because you have to win the league title.”