Let’s just be clear about this — Louis van Gaal was a terrible manager and he will never have a job in the Premier League again. He was the most disliked man in British football, yes, but in Spain he has fallen on his sword and fallen on the hard side of history, (a side that lacks scoundrels like he has in the past).
He will go down as one of the greatest shambles managers in Premier League history, but it was Barcelona who ripped through the Premier League and early on made it look as if the Manchester United experiment was not going to go the distance.
It seemed as if the conga line of messy home results was going to continue when United went 2-0 down to Shakhtar Donetsk. But somehow, something almost magical happened. Marcus Rashford, who has scored the goal of the season so far on the last day of the season and looked like a man on a mission, struck to put United back in front.
It took a strong response from the rest of the side, and though it didn’t last, United just about hung on to win 3-2, with Dembele giving them a nervy scare. In the final line of the match programme Jose Mourinho spoke of the importance of Rashford’s goal.
“Marcus, who has not scored many goals since he came back from international duty in August, is showing that he is what we had all hoped he would be,” he wrote. “Throughout the period of time he is playing, I think it is important he must try to score goals. Playing as a striker in the Premier League is a great challenge. It is a great test for you. When you are a striker in this team you have to believe you can score goals. We believe he can score goals. He has not scored often in recent games, but his contribution to the goals of his team mates is growing and that is pleasing.”
Now that’s the way to put it.
On a football field you have to feel that the manager is looking out for the best interests of the team. He may be wrong about the manger and his position, but you can understand how Mourinho could take Rashford to his heart, after this performance. It is not to say Van Gaal was a bad manager and the issues that have dogged United of late were Van Gaal’s fault. But he and the club need a look in the mirror, and Mourinho needs a chance to prove his talents as a manager.