By Russell Stoddart
Former Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty has called on Louis van Gaal to end the club’s dismal start to the season or "swim the Channel" if they want to get in the Champions League.
The Scot, who managed the club between 1972 and 1977, issued a withering criticism of Van Gaal’s first three months in charge at Old Trafford.
“Van Gaal must have arrived dreaming of winning the title, but that went out the window in the opening few weeks," he told Goal.
“I wouldn’t put any money on them finishing in the top four, to be honest. Unless they buck up their ideas, their best chance of getting into the Champions League is to swim the Channel.
“There is no doubt that Van Gaal’s record on the Continent is fantastic, but perhaps he hasn’t appreciated that the English Premier League is a different ball game.”
Docherty believes that United under Van Gaal is proof that David Moyes’ ill-fated Reds tenure was cut short too early.
“Moyes was treated very harshly at United, and this season is proving that," he added.
“Van Gaal has spent a fortune in the transfer market, and yet despite having a worse record than Moyes at this stage, there is no clamour for his head.
“Injuries have not been kind to him, but I fear that Van Gaal will run out of money before he runs out of players if he is preparing another buying spree in January.
“He has made too many changes, too quickly. Of course he has had more than his fair share of injuries to the squad, but the big money additions should be the finished article, and that is not what we are seeing.
“Angel Di Maria should be the best player in the Premier League, but he’s only impressed in glimpses, and as for Falcao, well he’d get injured on Question of Sport.
Luke Shaw is a young, English international and it is good to see him at United, but the jury is still out on him, though I believe he is still just finding his feet, even though he looked better when he was at Southampton.”
Ironically, according to Docherty, one of the few players prospering under Van Gaal is Marouane Fellaini, who David Moyes clearly rated, but failed to deliver when brought to United by his former Everton boss last summer.
“Fellaini is beginning to look the part and it may well be that it has dawned on him that he is on his final chance.
“He has a presence in midfield that United have lacked in recent times and how ironic would it be if it is him who comes to United’s rescue this season.”