INTERVIEW: Van Gaal the right man for Man Utd, says GB taekwondo star Muhammad

Team GB taekwondo athlete and avid Manchester United fan Lutalo Muhammad believes the club should stand by under pressure manager Louis van Gaal.

The Red Devils have endured a disappointing second season under the Dutchman and currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, three points adrift of rivals Manchester City in fourth who also have a game in hand.

Van Gaal has one year remaining on his contract but there has been growing speculation that Jose Mourinho will be in the Old Trafford hot seat next season following his sacking from Chelsea in December.

However Olympic bronze medallist Muhammad, who moved to Manchester from London in 2011 and regularly attends United’s home games, is hopeful that Van Gaal will remain in charge next year.

“I like Van Gaal – I think he’s a decent guy and a good person,” Muhammad told MM.

“I just don’t want us to become like a lot of the other teams who have a new manager every two years. That was one of the great things we had under Sir Alex [Ferguson]. We had a consistent manager, were loyal and it paid off for us.

“I’m traditional in that sense. I like sticking with one manager and staying loyal to him. We’re seeing with Arsenal that it didn’t pay off for seven or eight years but it’s starting to pay off for them again now through keeping the same manager.

“Unfortunately if we’re not in the Champions League and we’re not winning trophies you can see why other fans might feel different.

“Hopefully we can salvage something from this season so he can get another season to put it right.”

United’s next three games are crucial if they are to salvage something from this campaign.

The Red Devils host West Ham United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday before attempting to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday.

Elimination from those two competitions and a defeat in the Manchester derby next Sunday would leave United with little to play for heading into the final two months of the season.

Muhammad, who won gold at the Mexico City World Grand Prix in December, is optimistic however that United can get their hands on silverware this season and bring Champions League football to Old Trafford next year.

“We’re doing alright at the moment. I try to be positive,” he added.

“I just hope we’re not facing another season without Champions League football. We all took it for granted under Sir Alex.

“I did think that the top-four was within reach but I think we’ll probably have to win the Europa League now unless some other teams slip up.

“With Pep Guardiola coming to City next season, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Chelsea starting to show some form again it does make you worry a bit but let’s stay optimistic and I’m sure we’ll ride through it.”

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