Van Gaal ostracism risks United's fortunes
Following Sunday's defeat to Swansea City, Manchester United were brought back down to earth with a thud. The loss at the Liberty Stadium was a swift reality check for Louis van Gaal and his men. In light of the loss, more questions have been posed of Van Gaal's tactical approach. But should more poignant ones be posed of his actions, off the pitch?
After going 330 minutes of football without conceding a goal at the start of the 2015/16 Premier League campaign, all notions of an aura of invicibility shrouding the club were shattered, by the concession of two inside five minutes versus The Swans.
After reaching the hour mark, with Juan Mata having given The Red Devils a one-nil advantage, familiar cracks then emerged, after appearing to have added a successful defensive resolution to their game. Once again, all was not as it seemed.
For the second goal in particular, one such flaw appeared with flashing lights and blaring horns. Sergio Romero, since arriving from Sampdoria in the summer, had yet to be tested behind a thus-far disciplined United back four.
When he was forced to however, the doubts that have surrounded the Argentine during his career arose once more, as Bafetimbi Gomis' shot - as it transpired, the winner - went under the United stopper and trickled into the net. If Romero is to be United's number one, with reports of David De Gea's long-protacted move to Real Madrid set to reach a conclusion, it must be hugely worrying for United's fans.
Romero's presence in goal as been instigated as a result of De Gea's situation, but also of Victor Valdes' unhappiness at the club, following Van Gaal omitting the Spanish keeper from the club's US pre-season tour, a few short months after his signing from Barcelona.
But the Dutchman's actions regarding Valdes are not the first instance of dissention amongst the Old Trafford ranks, during his tenure.
Against Swansea, United's former ruthlessness was visibly absent in the final third. In no small part, is this down to a lack of attacking options and a move away from such linearity up front, with Wayne Rooney struggling in the lone striker role. That is a direct result of Louis Van Gaal. When things are clicking it works. But when they don't, Van Gaal's approach is too negative for a any United manager.
With any squad, balance and harmony is key but there are more than a few suggestions, that Van Gaal is failing to mollify his troops. That is not to say that players who earn thousands of pounds a week, should be coddled.
Far from it. But players who find more time out of the matchday squad and on the sidelines, need to be looked after. If not, their indifference will merely grow.
Louis Van Gaal is clearly - or would preach to be - a revolutionary manager and yes, sometimes tough love is a necessary measure. But he forgets the basics, of which United are crying out for.
Furthermore, the Dutch tactioner's insistance on double training sessions and a radical shake up of the clubs fitness and nutrition program, are yet to truly show signs of fruition.
Case and point with Manchester United's strikeforce over the last two seasons. Robin van Persie made no secret of his dislike of Van Gaal, on leaving for Fenerbahce.
Radamel Falcao did not have the backing of his manager and Javier Hernandez has been frozen out in Manchester for the length of his boss' tenture, enjoying a loan spell in Madrid and now set to depart for Bayer Leverkusen With Adnan Januzaj having left on loan for Borussia Dortmund, is this also the case for United's prodigal talent?
Of course, let us not forget that Sir Alex Ferguson was perhaps the greatest exponent of a manager that froze players out instantly who were not or would not perform consistently. In doing, so United's most decorated manager got the most out of his players.
But whilst Van Gaal is stepping into the boots of a predecessor of whom he will be keen to replicate, the Scot, who enjoyed Manchester United's most illustrious period of history, had something that Louis Van Gaal does not in the modern football era. Time.
Now with Monaco's Anthony Martial set to be a last minute arrival onto the Carrington training pitch - after United's early season failings in front of goal - The Red Devils have been forced to abandon a calm approach for a potentially hazard-lain, rushed, plan 'B'. Especially with Martial renowned for being lazy during training.
United have started steadily and with their only defeat down to a Swansea side who have beaten United on the last three occasions, should not be particularly downbeat.
However, as United struggle for goals with just two in four league outings, Louis Van Gaal has to do more to get the best from his charges. That begins by tending to his entire squad.
With rumblings off the pitch and a with twitchy United fanbase, the United boss has to be careful. If not, such off-pitch discontent could trickle onto the field and if that occurs, Louis Van Gaal could yet go the way of David Moyes.
An occurence, which has only one outcome.