Michael Owen thinks defeat against Newcastle United could spell the end of Louis van Gaal's time at Old Trafford. The former Manchester United star has been a vocal critic of the Dutchman's style of play this season and has warned defeat against the relegation-threatened Magpies at St James' Park on 12 January could lead to the sack.
Owen, 36, thinks Van Gaal's tactics compare unfavourably to United great Sir Alex Ferguson. He also said below-par results and performances will not be tolerated too much longer.
"Sir Alex Ferguson was there for 26 years and his was an attacking, exciting brand of football," he told the Daily Mail. "Sometimes United would get beat but you always knew you were in for a ride. You would go to a match knowing that you would be on the edge of your seat. That's not happening at the moment.
"Manchester United are a special team like Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid. You can't just come in and play your way. You have to play the United way. You have to understand the history of the club. The way they play. The way the fans want to see them play. The way the world of football wants to see them play.
"At Real Madrid, you'd get whistled off even if you won 1-0 every week. You'd get booed out of town. That's not what they expect. What we're watching at the moment is not Manchester United's DNA. We're watching something else. It's not the brand of Manchester United and all that it stands for. It can't continue the way it's going. Another defeat, or another couple of defeats, and I think the board will have a decision to make."
What's more, Owen suggested it would be easy to replace Van Gaal at Old Trafford, naming Pep Guardiola as his preferred choice to become the next Manchester United manager. He said: "When David Moyes was let go, you were looking around thinking: 'Who is big enough to take on this job?' I don't think that's the case now. It would be easier to find a new manager if they were to let Van Gaal go.
"If I was the Manchester United board, I would be on the phone to Guardiola's agent and I'd be trying to move heaven and earth to get him. Whoever gets him, they're going to have a proper manager. Arguably the best manager in the world."