Louis van Gaal needs to qualify for the Champions League, says Ray Wilkins
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 12/02/16 6:44pm
Ray Wilkins says Manchester United should continue to stand by boss Louis van Gaal - but believes failure to qualify for the Champions League could force the board to act.
United are currently six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table and Van Gaal has this week had to fend off questions about whether Jose Mourinho has been lined up to takeover at Old Trafford.
Former United midfielder Wilkins says Van Gaal - who was appointed in the summer of 2014 and has a contract for one more season - needs more time and, after steering the club to a fourth-placed finish last season, will improve the side.
"I'd stick with him, absolutely," Wilkins told Sky Sports. "He's got to be given that opportunity.
"We've seen that it's difficult for a player to come into this league and it's the same for managers.
Manchester United have to give him a little while longer, there's no two ways about it. But if they don't qualify for the Champions League then, unfortunately, the board's arm will be twisted.
"Managers want to put their own print on a side and the players he's brought in are quite young, so next year they'll have improved.
"We have to give him a little while longer, there's no two ways about it.
"But, if come the end of the season Manchester United don't qualify for the Champions League then, unfortunately, the board's arm will be twisted."
A group-stage exit from this season's Champions League, followed by United's current Premier League run of three wins from 12 games, has led to criticism of Van Gaal's tactical methods.
However, Wilkins says the team - who are averaging just 1.28 goals per game - are culpable for the chances they've missed.
He believes the team are playing well and, but for their wayward finishing, would be higher in the league.
"I was at United's [1-1 draw with] Chelsea at the weekend and I thought they did really well," said Wilkins.
Mourinho and Man Utd
A timeline of events involving Jose Mourinho and Manchester United since he left Chelsea
"They took the game off of Chelsea for the first 25 minutes or so, without scoring - and scoring has been their major problem. They were getting in great positions but weren't finishing those moves off.
"That's the problem they've got. They've sold Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez - who, for the life of me, I couldn't understand why.
"They've controlled many a game they've played in but they've just not finished teams off."