In Depth

Guardiola for Man Utd? Pep rant could delay Van Gaal deal

Bayern Munich coach tells club to back him or sack him as fears grow over Van Gaal

PEP GUARDIOLA has emerged as a shock candidate for the Manchester United manager's job after challenging Bayern Munich to back him or sack him in the wake of the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

 The German champions were beaten 4-0 in front of their own fans on Tuesday night and the defeat has prompted questions about Guardiola's rigid adherance to the 'tiki-taka' style of possession football he pioneered with Barcelona. The Spanish coach was unrepentant in the aftermath of defeat, but criticism of his methods from some of German football's biggest names including Franz Beckenbauer appears to have riled him. "The club must decide if the coach is the right one for the club," he said today. "I won't change my opinion about the club and the people who work here after one defeat. I feel like a part of the club and will do my best with my ideas until the last day. "Following this defeat I am even more convinced of my philosophy... Beckenbauer should be telling war time stories to children instead of telling me how to coach my team." Such belligerance from a usually mild-mannered manager are sure to raise eyebrows and the Daily Telegraph says that Guardiola's comments have not gone unnoticed at Manchester United, as doubts grow over the wisdom of appointing Louis Van Gaal as the new manager. The club is close to unveiling Van Gaal as successor to David Moyes, says the paper, "but if Guardiola's job in Germany is seen as being in doubt it could prompt Old Trafford officials to rethink their options". That might go down well in some quarters, as concerns about the cantankerous Dutchman's approach grow. Former Bayern Munich manager Mehmet Scholl told The Guardian that Van Gaal was "very strict and severe" and added: "Everywhere he was he had some problems with big players and the staff." In March, before he was lined up to take over at Old Trafford, Man City's chief executive, Ferran Soriano, described Van Gaal as "very difficult", reports The Times. "He is very tough, people don't like him, but he wins," he added. Another concern is that the arrival of Van Gaal could force out interim manager Ryan Giggs, a hero to the Old Trafford faithful. The Telegraph says that there is now "uncertainty over his future at Manchester United" and warns that "Giggs's position is in doubt".

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