Louis van Gaal’s crusade against the press shows no sign of slowing up anytime soon, but the Manchester United boss could find himself in a position where he must fall on his sword if the results don’t pick up.
His latest outburst saw him refer to The Sun’s Neil Custis as ‘fat man’ in the Red Devils’ press conference after their 3-3 draw with Newcastle, mere playground name-calling maybe, but it does put him in dangerous territory.
The papers have been pretty vocal this season in suggesting LVG is just one defeat away from the sack on numerous occasions already this term.
The Dutchman has dealt with this speculation in a number of ways. From brushing it off entirely, to remonstrating about how it affects his family to see his job called into question, but his latest retort enters a new realm.
In directly referring to a member of the media in such a way, Van Gaal could find himself put under even more scrutiny when results don’t go his way.
I obviously wasn’t involved in the media when the likes of Brian Clough and Bill Shankly were around but in the Premier League era, I can’t remember a manager that has gone toe-to-toe with the press and come out on top, except Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sir Alex bit back when journalists trod on his toes, and he grew to earn a great deal of respect in the press room, but he is a rare case in this modern era.
If LVG can turn it round and see some consistency return to the north west then he may well just win over some respect and respite from the baying media.
But in a battle between Louis van Gaal and the press, unless United start delivering on the pitch there is only going to be one winner, and it’s not the man in the Old Trafford hot-seat.
Whether the end of his spell in the north west is in the very near future though, I’m not too sure.
This weekend’s game against Liverpool was put to me as a ‘mustn’t lose’ fixture for Van Gaal, with defeat set to precede him picking up his P45.
From where I am, I think that if he was that much at risk, why haven’t the Manchester United hierarchy moved already?
Jose Mourinho is available, and is widely tipped to be the next man in the role, so why haven’t we seen LVG shipped out for the former Chelsea boss?
Furthermore, while they didn’t win against Newcastle on Tuesday, it was exactly the type of style the Stretford End have been crying out to see this term.
Wayne Rooney is looking like the striker of old, and the supporting cast all put their best foot forward in an attacking sense.
Whether they put up that sort of performance again at Anfield, or revert to type, I expect the United boss to still be in his job on Monday, but whether he can sustain a season long battle with those in the press room, I very much doubt it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.