Saturday 22 October 2016

Louis Van Gaal vows to battle 'to the end'

Andy Hampson

Published 29/01/2016 | 07:36

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was in defiant form ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash against Derby. Photo: Getty
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was in defiant form ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash against Derby. Photo: Getty

Louis van Gaal is determined to fight on as Manchester United manager and win back the fans.

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The under-fire Dutchman acknowledges he is under increasing pressure at Old Trafford but insists he has not offered to resign and will not walk away.

Van Gaal faces the latest round of scrutiny over his position and his misfiring side as they travel to Championship Derby for a tricky FA Cup fourth-round tie on Friday night.

The 64-year-old, who is in his second season at the club, said: "Everybody knows I have signed a three-year contract, and I have said in all my press conferences that is not one game, it is a process. I want to continue until the end."

Van Gaal is confident he has the backing of the club's board but accepts that brings extra pressure to deliver on expectations for them and the fans.

He said: "Of course I am very happy with the support of (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward and the Glazers (owners) but it gives you also more pressure.

"It is the same thing I have more pressure because the fans believe in me, or maybe had, believed in me. That is possible.

"That gives more pressure to you because you will (need to) fulfil the expectations that they have of you."

Asked if he can achieve that, Van Gaal said: "Of course. We are halfway. But now I am more dependent on belief than facts, because the facts are we are not in the first four of the Premier League, and that the gap is bigger. The belief is not so easy to believe."

The heat on Van Gaal was turned up even more after last weekend's disappointing home loss to Southampton in the Barclays Premier League, after which United and Van Gaal were booed from the field. The result left them five points off the Champions League places and with just two wins in 10 league matches.

Van Gaal's future seems uncertain, but the former Holland, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has hit out at media he believes are too willing to report his demise.

He said at a press conference:" It is awful and horrible that you can write that. I am very concerned people are believing what you are writing. It is this world that you can write what you want and you don't have to verify anything. A lot of it is in a disrespectful way."

But Van Gaal does recognise that he cannot afford a defeat at the iPro Stadium.

He said: "When you lose it is more worse and I predicted already, before the game against Southampton, that I cannot lose any more because I am then condemned for the fourth time that I have been sacked. Maybe then you have written the truth, because sometimes it happens."

Derby will have nothing to lose and manager Paul Clement believes the troubled Red Devils could be there for the taking.

A Rams victory could have serious repercussions for United as well as reinvigorating promotion-chasing Derby after five games without a win.

Clement said: "It wouldn't be that much of an upset if we beat Manchester United. Assuming we perform well, it's a fantastic opportunity."


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