Van Gaal, who is now 72, was appointed United manager in May 2014, succeeding David Moyes, who had failed during his short-term spell in the Old Trafford hot seat. Van Gaal spent two years at the club, guiding them to fourth and fifth-placed finishes in the Premier League, as well as winning the FA Cup in 2016.
Just two days after beating Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final at Wembley, United sacked Van Gaal, replacing him with Jose Mourinho a few days later. Mourinho spent two-and-a-half-years in charge before being sacked in December 2018 and being replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, initially on an interim basis.
Solskjaer lasted until November 2021 and was replaced by Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis, with the German seeing United through until the end of the 2021/22 campaign, before Erik ten Hag stepped into the position he still occupies. Despite the former Ajax chief&aposs best efforts to restore standards and oversee an improvement at Old Trafford, United&aposs start to this season is threatening to undo the progress the club made under his stewardship last term.
Saturday&aposs 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United at St James&apos Park was another forgettable result and performance, meaning he is under ever-increasing pressure. And that has prompted Neville to reflect on the past decade at United and the different managers they have tested the water with, claiming that Van Gaal is the only one who has been able to install a recognised style.
Neville, speaking on his Sky Sports podcast, said: “The problem is, if you just knock them off track slightly, like Istanbul will have done, and probably won&apost qualify for the next round of the Champions League, they don&apost react well. It sort of knocks them completely.
“You then start to think about the Everton game; they should have been level at half-time, Everton. In fact, they should have been two or three up – they had really good chances, didn&apost they?
“You then start to look back at the games when they have won 3-0 and question that. All I would say is, you can play poorly and win, but Manchester United have been doing that now for a long time.
“I was critical of Louis van Gaal at United and I felt as though his football didn&apost suit the club and how United should play, which is more like the [Jurgen] Klopp style of play. Obviously, I&aposm not going to go back to how we used to play, so I&aposll use a current manager, who plays really electric football, fast, pressing, with a high tempo, gets it forward and is a bit more direct.
“Van Gaal dominated football matches at United; there was a style of play. Since Van Gaal, I don&apost think I have seen a pattern of play established, and that is probably seven or eight years now. I have seen the same type of football irrespective of whom the manager is.
“No manager has been able to sort of settle on a style of play. It sort of goes something like: counter-attack, moments, maybe dominate against lesser teams at Old Trafford and look they can play a little bit, but don&apost kid us because every time they play against a top team they get done, and that has been the same for seven or eight years.
“There is only Van Gaal since Sir Alex Ferguson that has been able to implement a style of play at the club. Every other manager, whether it be Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, David Moyes, who was there for a short period, and now Erik ten Hag, who has been there for 18 months [has failed].