The Manchester United manager went on the offensive in his pre-match press conference ahead of Friday’s trip to Derby County, accusing journalists of fabricating stories about his reported offer to quit the club.
Following Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford, several publications in the normally reliable section of the British media reported that Louis van Gaal offered to resign after the game on Saturday, but was turned down by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
However, the Dutchman returned from a quick trip to the Netherlands to take charge of the Red Devils’ training as normal earlier this week, and in his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s fourth round FA Cup tie against Derby County, Van Gaal let loose at the journalists present.
The 64-year-old is quoted by British newspaper The Telegraph as saying: “I have not mentioned [resignation], ever. I think that you make your own stories, then I have to answer your stories.
“I’m not doing that because I think it’s awful and horrible that you can write [that] then I have to answer the question about those stories. I don’t think I have to do that.
“I don’t think the press conference is there for the moment to talk about that, when you make up your stories and the people are believing them. I’m very concerned that people are believing what you are writing because I receive a lot of calls and SMS.
“But OK, that is the world. This is the third time that I have been ‘sacked’ and I am still sitting here for you. I have always faced this [scrutiny].”
The former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager did, however, admit that a defeat to Derby County on Friday could sound the death knell for his time at Old Trafford, adding: “Now I can’t lose any more because then I will be condemned for the fourth time that I’ve been sacked and then maybe you have written the truth because sometimes it happens.”
Insistence on sticking with Van Gaal could have more to do with lack of obvious replacements than faith in the Dutchman
Although there are several factors at play here, including the fact that Woodward may want to avoid being seen as having made the wrong decision by appointing Van Gaal, the reason Manchester United continue to stick with the Dutchman could have a lot to do with the lack of obvious mid-season replacements for him.
Ryan Giggs may not necessarily have enough experience as a manager to be able to steer Manchester United to a top four finish this season, while it is clear that there is resistance within Manchester United’s uppermost echelons to the appointment of José Mourinho. Even though the Red Devils are showing precious little progress and look in serious danger of missing out on Champions League football for the second time in three seasons, Van Gaal will continue to remain in charge while the powers that be at Old Trafford remain in a state of indecision.