FORMER Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says this season has been case of “one step forward and two steps back” but insists Louis van Gaal is the right man for the Old Trafford hot-seat.
United snatched a last-gasp draw against Premier League leaders Chelsea yesterday but it has been a difficult first few months in charge for Van Gaal, with a Capital One Cup humiliation at MK Dons and inconsistent results.
Ferguson blames the erratic displays on a litany of defensive injuries but believes the Dutchman has the qualities needed to return the club to the success they became accustomed to under the Scot.
“I think it's a little bit one step forward and two back,” he said of this season at an event to promote his updated autobiography at London’s Theatre Royal last night.
“It’s all down to injuries to defenders. Until you've a steady centre-back partnership and back four playing regularly, you never get consistency of results. So they keep looking fragile at the back and that's understandable.
“They'll get there because he [Van Gaal] has got a philosophy, stubborness and the determination to do it right. I have no doubt in my mind that he is the right person for that job."
Ferguson also rejected the notion that his short-lived successor David Moyes was doomed to fail because he inherited an ageing squad in steep decline.
“That's an insult,” he added. “We won the title by 11 points [in his final season, 2012-13] and it could’ve been more. There was a nucleus of players left there -- [David] De Gea, the Da SIlvas, [Jonny] Evans, [Phil] Jones -- and guys like [Robin] Van Persie, [Michael] Carrick, [Patrice] Evra, [Nemanja] Vidic. In your early 30s, today that’s your peak. I don’t think it was a players thing. It's easy to defend because the facts were all there.”
The 72-year-old denied having a hand in the dismissal of Moyes just 10 months into a six-year contract, and again defended the decision to hire the former Everton boss.
“When I was manager it was right that they should ask your advice, but after I left I wasn't involved in the process of doing anything in the running of the club,” he said.
Of the selection of Moyes, Ferguson said: “As soon as we [Ferguson and United chief executive David Gill] decided we were leaving we had a meeting in New York [with the club’s American owners] and went through the process, and we all felt when it came down to analysis that David Moyes was a good choice.”