Louis van Gaal believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s status as a Treble legend has saved him from the sack at Manchester United.
But he’s warned Solskjaer the axe could fall on him next summer – just like it did for him moments after winning the 2016 FA Cup Final.
Van Gaal’s sacking after ten-man United beat Crystal Palace in extra time at Wembley four years ago still rankles with the 69-year-old Dutchman.
And he reckons Solskjaer would already have been a goner at Old Trafford had he not been a successful former United star with a big history for the club.
“Solskjaer is an ex-player, so they will not sack him as quickly as someone else” says van Gaal who has been unimpressed by the football United play under the Norwegian.
“United won’t sack a manager during the season especially Solskjaer. I see all the stories about Solskjaer and his future in the media.
“But they waited with sacking me until the end of the season and that could happen to him.’’
Van Gaal managed Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and had two spells as Holland coach before succeeding David Moyes at United in 2014.
He lasted two years before being replaced by Jose Mourinho with some United fans dismayed by his methodical style and rigid playing pattern.
Despite that criticism, the experienced Dutchman has laid into Solskjaer’s own brand of football – and has slammed the Norwegian’s confusing tactical switches.
“The football he brings is of a counter attacking team. He always adapts to his opponents” says Van Gaal.
“And he is playing different systems all the time. Against Southampton it is 4-4-2, in the next match it is 5 defenders, next it is 4-2-3-1.
“You could argue he is using the qualities of his players, but at West Ham United they were outclassed in the first half.
“It was only when Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes came on they made the difference.
“Using different systems is okay but my question would be is he actually properly training the players to use these systems?
“Because it’s key that if you switch these different playing systems it must be executed in a good way.
“It depends less on the quality of the players than on the actual practice of a system in training.’’
Van Gaal admits he was disappointed in Solskjaer’s guarded approach during the dull 0-0 Manchester derby draw claiming United were City’s “servants”.
“All Man United did was defend with ten men. Everyone knows my relationship with Pep Guardiola, who is angry with me because I challenged him in my last book.
“But I enjoyed watching City more than United. I have far more sympathy for City than for United.
“Honestly, United were just defending and hoping they can do a quick hit on the counter. Pep’s team don’t have the intention to defend with ten men.’
“United just defend and put a couple of players up front who can run 100 metres in 9 seconds. Is that a world record?
“All I mean to say is that Greenwood, Rashford or Martial are super fast runners who will use the space United’s opponents leave behind their defence when United sit back and defend.
“In the derby, United played as if they were City’s servants.’’