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United must NOT sack Van Gaal... even if they don't get fourth, insists Neville

The Red Devils face a tough fight to qualify for the Champions League.

 Louis van Gaal is under fire following some below-par United performances of late.
Louis van Gaal is under fire following some below-par United performances of late.

LOUIS VAN GAAL should not be sacked even if Manchester United miss out on a top-four finish this season, according to Gary Neville.

United lie fourth in the Premier League with 47 points from 26 matches but Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea City has left Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham all within one victory of leapfrogging them in the table.

Performances have garnered as much criticism as results at Old Trafford this season despite a £150 million summer transfer splurge that brought Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw to the club.

United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League under David Moyes last season directly resulted in a 12.2 per cent drop in the club’s revenue for the six months to the end of December, and it is likely that a repeat would have similarly significant financial ramifications.

But while he admits that missing out on Europe’s elite club competition for a second consecutive year would constitute a “terrible season” for United, Neville is adamant that sacking Van Gaal as a result would achieve nothing.

“Louis van Gaal should not be sacked [if Manchester United fail to make the top four],” he told talkSPORT.

“It would be a terrible season for Man United and Louis van Gaal. He would probably say it was a big failure because he knows his job this season.

“He has to get in the Champions League but, on the other hand, if he didn’t, no, you can’t just sack a manager one year and then sack another manager the year after. Where do you go from there?

“There has to be a level of continuity. I absolutely believe this time there will be continuity at Man United and they will stand by him even if he doesn’t finish in the top four and that’s the right thing to do.”

Neville is still backing United to hold off their rivals in what promises to be the most hotly contested top-four race for years, though he concedes Van Gaal’s men will have to raise their game to make sure the unthinkable is avoided.

“I still think Manchester United will finish in the top four, he added. “I think they will scrape in. At the start of the season I thought they’d finish third.

“There is a period in March where they have Arsenal in an FA Cup quarter-final, then they have Spurs the Sunday after and Liverpool after that. There is an international break and then they have got Aston Villa, Man City and Chelsea.

“That will be a big period but, actually, Van Gaal and Man United started the season really poorly and these big games came along and they seemed to grow.

“I’d like to think these games will inspire some of the bigger players at Man United. They need to step up their performances. There is no doubt about that.”

We don’t care about previous Arsenal failures at this stage>

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