The Red Devils secured a morale-boosting 3-2 victory over bitter rivals Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
He’s not thinking of himself, he’s hoping they are going to be in a better position when he leaves
United’s 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford scored twice on is Premier League debut to take his tally to four goals in two games for the Red Devils.
While Merson believes Van Gaal could have bought experienced players to secure short-term success, the former Arsenal midfielder believes the United boss deserves credit for overseeing the introduction of some exciting, young talents.
“I feel sorry for Van Gaal a bit,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“He could have come into United and spent all that money on 28-year-olds, proven footballers who have won things.
“That might not have helped the club in the long term but it might may have delivered a trophy. However, in three years time it would leave the club in a worse place than they are now.
“But he hasn’t done that. He went out and has bought youngsters for the future and has given other youngsters a chance.
“It’s not the same as [Arsene] Wenger, who has been manager for almost 20 years. Van Gaal has been there for less than two, so it’s a completely different case.
“He has bought players for the future for United as a club. He’s not thinking of himself, he’s hoping they are going to be in a better position when he leaves.”
United are in fifth place in the Premier League table and three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot.
The 20-time English champions host Watford at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
Van Gaal’s have won their last three games in all competitions after victories over Shrewsbury Town, FC Midtjylland and Arsenal.
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