Under-pressure Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted that he did not know if he retained the backing of the club’s board after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke City.
Pre-match media reports claimed that Van Gaal would be sacked if United lost at the Britannia Stadium and they duly went down to first-half goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic in the Premier League fixture.
United have lost four games in succession in all competitions for the first time since 1996 and gone seven games without victory for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
Asked if he felt he still had the support of the United board and owners the Glazer family, Van Gaal told Sky Sports: “It’s another situation. We have lost the fourth game, so you have to wait and see.”
On whether he was still the right man for the job, the 64-year-old Dutchman said: “It’s more difficult because I’m also part of the four matches that we have lost.
“So people are looking at me. I have to deal with that, but much more important is that the players have to deal with that because they have to perform.”
Van Gaal had described the game as “must-win”, but said that “the pressure” upon himself and the team, as well as swirling wind inside the stadium, meant that his players “don’t dare to play football”.
Van Gaal stormed out of his pre-match press conference in Manchester on Wednesday due to the speculation about his position, but he dismissed the suggestion that the pressure was getting to him.
“You don’t understand my message,” he said. “My message was that media are saying things and writing things that do not conform to what is happening in Manchester United.
“That was my message, not that I’m hurt because I am used to that.”
United, who have slipped out the Premier League’s top four and been eliminated from the Champions League this month, are next in action on Monday, when they welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford.
United midfielder Michael Carrick said that Van Gaal still had the support of his players.
“Of course,” Carrick said. “You can single anyone out in this situation. As a club and as a group of players and as a staff, as a manager, everyone together, we have to stick together. We have to win football matches.
“We’ve all got to take responsibility for that. The only way to get through it is work hard, stick together and keep believing that it’ll turn for us.” – Agence France-Presse