Louis van Gaal is still adamant that his side can catch Chelsea despite being 10 points behind the league leaders, after managing a 2-2 draw against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Monday night. The Red Devils are now sixth in the table, one point and one place behind Liverpool and have gone six games without a win away from home.
Despite spending heavily this summer, plus getting the easiest of fixtures any top club can hope for, United have just one more point after eight games than they did last season in a calamitous campaign under David Moyes who was sacked for underachieving.
It is good to see Van Gaal is staying positive here. He said that it was “two points lost” at Albion and maintains that United can still overhaul Chelsea, who visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
When asked whether United can still catch Chelsea, he said: “That’s possible but it is difficult to say because I am then arrogant. But I have done it a lot of times.”
Van Gaal talks about his football philosophy and all that, but Tony Cascarino of The Times notes that it is hard to find out what kind of team United are at the moment.
“Some sides focus on keeping possession, others have great pace and athleticism; some favour short passing and some long. But United are a mixture…” he writes.
Based on observation and stats, whatever way you look at it, United are are still very much finding their feet under Louis van Gaal. They are struggling against smaller teams, and are making individual errors that are costing them points. And even a hard core optimist will struggle to believe that from next week, United will find their old form again and will win against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in their next four fixtures, which obviously will take them in a good position for the Champions League spot. And may be beyond that.
Already Van Gaal backtracked yesterday saying it was “stupid” for him to ask media to judge him after three months; by maintaining his side can still catch Chelsea when it is day light clear that they are at best good enough to challenge for top four spot and even that is an overstatement, leads us to think, is he not day-dreaming and putting unnecessary pressure on the team?