Louis van Gaal has been told that his brand of football at Manchester United was “the worst”, with Gary Neville quick to defend new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from accusations of being unadventurous.
The man who has been filling an interim post at Old Trafford since December is now tied to a permanent three-year contract .
Terms are considered to be just reward for a coach who has overseen a reversal in fortune for the Red Devils since stepping into the shoes of the much-maligned Jose Mourinho .
Not everything has been plain sailing, though, with former United boss Van Gaal claiming that Solskjaer’s methods are similar to those of his predecessor – he has just won more games.
Neville is not buying that assessment, with the former Red Devils defender seeing enough signs of progress to suggest that the right appointment has been made .
He told Sky Sports : “Let's be clear, Man United have still got a long way to go before they get back to being anywhere near where they should be and I don't think today is a time to start thinking that Manchester United are going to win the league in the next 10 minutes.
“It has been an unhappy place for four or five seasons so I think the first thing is getting the fans excited to be going to the games again.
“In the last two or three months, I've felt excited by what I've seen for the first time in a while - the atmosphere in the ground has returned, the joy on the fans' faces, the away following has connected with the team again. The players have upped their game so I think this is phase one, to get the club happy again and that's where it's at.
“There is a lot of hard work still to do in the coming months and years to get Man United back to where it was before.
“I saw Louis van Gaal the other day say that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's football is like Jose Mourinho's but winning. Van Gaal's football at Man United was the worst I've ever seen and Mourinho's was far better, even though it wasn't acceptable in terms of what the fans want to see.
“We've had a lot of change at the club in the last four or five years with different managers coming in, world-class managers and it hasn't worked.
“Ole has bought a level of happiness and excitement back to the fans, which is at least something because it has been difficult to watch over the last three or four years.”
Solskjaer has the Red Devils sat two points outside the Premier League’s top four at present, but there are still eight games to come and the welcome distraction of a Champions League challenge which is set to deliver a date with Lionel Messi and Barcelona at the quarter-final stage .