Michael Owen: Van Gaal likely to be sacked if Manchester United lose at Newcastle
By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Michael Owen has claimed that Louis van Gaal could be sacked if Manchester United lose against Newcastle on Tuesday night.
The former United striker says the under-fire Dutchman is only one defeat away from forcing the board into ending his reign.
United play Tuesday away on Tuesday night in what Owen describes as a “must-win game” if Van Gaal is to cling to his job.
Fans have called for the manager to be sacked after United scraped past League One side Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday, which was the Premier League club’s second consecutive win.
BT Sport pundit Owen said the results are one issue – United are fifth in the Premier League and have been eliminated from the Champions League – but equally significant is the style of play.
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“Sir Alex Ferguson was there for 26 years and his was an attacking, exciting brand of football,” Owen told Mail Online. “Sometimes United would get beat but you always knew you were in for a ride. You would go to a match knowing that you would be on the edge of your seat. That’s not happening at the moment.
“Manchester United are a special team like Liverpool, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. You can’t just come in and play your way. You have to play the United way.
“You have to understand the history of the club. The way they play. The way the fans want to see them play. The way the world of football wants to see them play.
“At Real Madrid, you’d get whistled off even if you won 1-0 every week. You’d get booed out of town. That’s not what they expect.
“What we’re watching at the moment is not Manchester United’s DNA. We’re watching something else. It’s not the brand of Manchester United and all that it stands for.
“It can’t continue the way it’s going. Another defeat, or another couple of defeats, and I think the board will have a decision to make.”
Owen believes it would be easier to sack Van Gaal than was the case when David Moyes was given his marching orders because there are replacements available, including Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and his assistant Ryan Giggs.
Owen said: “When David Moyes was let go, you were looking around thinking: ‘Who is big enough to take on this job?’ I don’t think that’s the case now.
“It would be easier to find a new manager if they were to let Van Gaal go.
“If I was the Manchester United board, I would be on the phone to Guardiola’s agent and I’d be trying to move heaven and earth to get him. Whoever gets him, they’re going to have a proper manager. Arguably the best manager in the world.”