Van Gaal - Man Utd can no longer be expected to dominate

Van Gaal fending off his critics again
Van Gaal fending off his critics again

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has suggested the days of his club being a dominant force in English and European football are over.

Van Gaal has come under fire from United fans over the course of this season, with the animosity towards the Dutchman rising after his side's Champions League exit last Tuesday.

Now Van Gaal has suggested he cannot be expected to lead United towards the kind of dominant position Alex Ferguson managed during his historic reign as manager of the club.

"The world has changed," stated Van Gaal. “You have to analyse the club as it is now.

“You cannot compare it with 10 years ago, because there is an evolution in football and in European football.

"You (the media) want to raise the expectations. We shall do everything to win something but it is very difficult.

"For the fans it shall be like that. But I want to manage the expectation. It is not as easy as everybody thinks.

"In 1997 I was out of the group stages with Barcelona. They are also a big club, there was also a lot of criticism in the media. But then we won the title. That was minor criticism at that time.

"Only one club can win the Champions League each season. It is not so easy to do that, now.

"Then three or four clubs had great money. Now we have much more clubs who have the money.

"It is the same in the Premier League. Next year, all the clubs in the Premier League have a bigger budget than most of the clubs in Europe."

Van Gaal went on to reject suggestions hat his maturing years mean he is not suitable to lead United beyond this season, as he insisted he still had plenty to give.

"I have read already in the media that I am 64 and I am too old. Last year I was good enough to get Holland to third at the World Cup," he said.

"I read the same things 20 years ago. When we went out at the group stage with Barcelona, they wrote the same thing - that my touch has gone. It is always like that. I cannot change that.

"I cannot change what is in your mind. I can only say the facts.

"The facts are this - we are out of the group stage, yes, I am very sorry. But I have done everything I could, as have my players and my board."

United fans may not want to hear Van Gaal suggesting their days of winning trophies consistently are over, with the Dutchman's next big test coming on Saturday as his side travel to face Bournemouth.