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How long can Manchester United hold on to top four?




Louis van Gaal rightly says when you’re at a big club like Manchester United you have to deal with pressure, and deliver at the same time.

United managed to hold on to the fourth place despite losing 2-1 to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. Three points separate between them & three teams – Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham –  the question is how long can they hold on to that position?

“I think every game that Manchester United plays, you have to manage that, because this is a top club,” said the Dutchman. “The players and the manager have to manage that. It’s normal.”

United have gone through a re-building phase after David Moyes was sacked and a new manager came in. Money have been spent recklessly on signing top players.

At the start of the season, very few expected them to challenge for the title, but finishing in top four was priority, if not the minimum requirement.

And precisely based on that Van Gaal should/will be judged at the end of the season – all other issues like team’s style, system, philosophy etc are secondary at the moment.

Probably that’s why United bloggers are coming up with this suggestion that as long as van Gaal is keeping the side in top four, there’s hardly any room for clamour.

Since November, United have been able to maintain a more-or-less consistent performance throughout. Same can be said about Southampton. The problem is, in recent months, post January to be precise, other top four rivals have also progressed at a rapid pace and hence are catching up with United.

On the other hand, United are still showing signs of vulnerability and stats do not justify that a progress in its truest sense have taken place. Frankly, there is hardly any evidence to keep you comfort that here is a team that can beat any side on their day. The performances have seen so poor!

United have a tough set of fixtures to deal with in the month of March and April, with Van Gaal’s set to face Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton in quick succession.

These are the games where United could drop points. They may win all of them, but judging by their form, they could lose/draw in most of these.

Unless, you’re damn biased here, frankly, are United confident enough of beating Liverpool at the moment? Or grab a win against City? Chelsea? or even take full points at the Goodison?

Unless they improve, and that too quickly, United fans cannot expect that the team to pull out the result even when not playing well.