Louis van Gaal faced his toughest test as Manchester United manager on Tuesday night in a must-win game against Wolfsburg, and he failed.
Man United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stages and the immediate reaction to our elimination among the fans has been damning.
As is always the case with any loss, the reaction straight after is intense but the sentiment was very clear – fans are losing faith in van Gaal, his process and his philosophy. They’ve lost their faith in United under the Dutchman.
Sentiment has been shifting over the last couple of months. With only three wins in 11 games, the loss against Wolfsburg tipped fans over the edge and it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens over the next few days ahead of the game away to Bournemouth.
Will the storm pass and fans gain clarity which suggests crashing out of the UEFA Champions League isn’t all van Gaal’s fault or will it do the opposite and cement general opinion that United aren’t progressing under his stewardship?
We really are at a crossroads with United under van Gaal and that can’t be stressed enough.
Going out at the group stage in Europe’s premier competition isn’t good enough given the patience and investment handed to van Gaal and he has to answer for that. Yes the injuries didn’t help against Wolfsburg but it was a culmination of five games which saw us knocked out, not just one individually.
The biggest questions are these: after 18 months in charge, are we any clearer as to what van Gaal’s philosophy is and what process we are going through? And, if we do, is that a journey we want United to continue on or is it time to pursue a new direction?