Netherlands great Patrick Kluivert has backed Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and struggling winger Memphis Depay to come good at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal – who steered the Netherlands to a third-placed finish at the World Cup in 2014 with Kluivert among his backroom staff – has come under pressure at United amid a hugely underwhelming second campaign in charge.
Following hefty investment during the close-season, United sit fifth in the Premier League, having also crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages, leading to questions over Van Gaal’s future.
Amid speculation the 64-year-old will be replaced by Jose Mourinho at the end of the campaign, Kluivert suggested his compatriot’s primary difficulty has been a lack of familiarity with the evolving squad, as well as the sky-high expectations of supporters and the media.
“I know Louis really well, he’s a coach who knows how to motivate young players in order for them to bring their qualities to the team,” the former Barcelona and Ajax striker told FIFA.com.
“With the Netherlands there was a lot of dialogue and the players all shared the same philosophy. It’s different for him now because he’s at a big club with players of all different nationalities and I think he needs to get to know them a bit better in order to get the best out of them.
“Obviously, at a club of that size, people want results immediately, but it’s not as easy as that. United are in fifth place now and the coach is always the first one to get the blame for a bad run.
“However, I think he’s got so much quality and I hope he can turn the situation around.”
Netherlands international Depay is among the new arrivals to have struggled this term, attracting criticism for inconsistent displays after signing from PSV in May.
Kluivert worked with the 22-year-old as part of the national team setup at the World Cup and believes the forward is capable of proving himself for club and country.
“Memphis is a player with huge quality and that’s not something you lose, even at times like these,” he said.
“It’s simply a question of confidence and making the most of your opportunities. He needs time to adapt to a new city and playing style.
“It’s only his first year and I think he will end up being a success. He’s a great player and will be important to the Netherlands’ future.”
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