The former Arsenal midfielder says the Old Trafford playing staff are petrified of the Dutchman.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, the former player turned pundit claimed that the Dutchman was ruling Old Trafford through fear, echoing comments made recently by Southampton manager Ronald Koeman.
According to the Mirror, Koeman accused Van Gaal of striking fear into his Manchester United players with his demanding and combative approach, suggesting that his style of managing with an iron fist could prove counter-productive. Now, Merson has offered his take.
“I might be wrong, but I think the United players look petrified of the manager,” Merson said on Soccer Saturday.
United clambered back into third place in the Premier League on Saturday, but have failed to impress under Dutchman Van Gaal, who filled the Red Devils’ coaching void in the summer. Instead, the veteran manager has come in for criticism in several areas, most notably playing Wayne Rooney in midfield.
Merson is one of those critics, suggesting that if United fail to finish in the Champions League places come the end of the season, Van Gaal could find his job under threat because the players will start to dislike him and his methods, regardless of how successful he has been in the past.
“This goes one way or the other,” added Merson.
“They either get top four, or this will end up in absolute mayhem. If they don’t get top four, the players will start to dislike him because of what he’s saying.”