Louis van Gaal wants teams to fear Manchester United again
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 22/02/16 2:19pm
Louis van Gaal is determined to reignite Manchester United's season and regain their fear factor.
United's troubled campaign has taken further turns for the worse in their last two outings, losing at Sunderland in the Premier League and falling to FC Midtjylland in the Europa League.
The defeat in Denmark last week in particular highlighted how United - for so long seen domestically and abroad as among the most daunting opponents a club could face - no longer seem to be viewed as an intimidating prospect.
Monday's FA Cup fifth-round trip to Shrewsbury has been deemed by sections of the media as must-win for Van Gaal, with speculation over Jose Mourinho's readiness to step in at Old Trafford not going away.
Asked ahead of the contest if teams do not fear United anymore, Van Gaal said: "When you see the last two games, it is maybe like that. But then we have to make them fear again.
"It is a question of winning matches in a row."
After the Shrewsbury match, United host Midtjylland on Thursday in the second leg of the European tie, then have a Premier League home clash against Arsenal three days later.
Winning all three fixtures - with the Europa League result sufficient to send them through - would be a major boost, some momentum having been built up again and the club remaining in the hunt for two trophies as well as a top-four finish.
The lacklustre showing in Denmark on Thursday will not have harmed Shrewsbury's belief they can pile on the misery for United. The thought that their League One opponents may be brimming with confidence pleases Van Gaal.
"I hope so, because then it's a benefit for us," the Dutchman added.
"You cannot continue with losing and the question is how we are lifting ourselves for this game because Shrewsbury shall also fight [like Midtjylland] for the second balls and play direct and that kind of thing, and you have to cope with that.
"You have to keep the ball better and not give unnecessary losses away."