Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Chelsea dominated the back pages yesterday but had it not been for the downfall of the self-proclaimed Special One the vultures would have been circling over Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal’s side were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage last week when they were beaten 3-2 by German club Wolfsburg and then compounded that ignominy with a Premier League loss to modest Bournemouth.
United are fourth but the Dutchman’s tactics have come under fire all season with fans blaming him for a lack of flair.
Another setback against lowly Norwich City at Old Trafford today would raise further questions about his future.
Van Gaal spoke of the “crazy” world of football when addressing the media yesterday, the day after Mourinho was sacked by the Premier League champions, but insisted he has the full backing of his players and United’s board.
“It was a big surprise for me I didn’t expect that, a fantastic manager with a record that nobody has in this football world,” Van Gaal said of title-winner Mourinho’s exit.
“But I said last week that the main thing is results and the second thing is the chemistry between the players and the manager and his staff. I cannot judge what was happening there but was very surprised.
“It’s like that, managers know in advance, it’s this world. My players are fine (with me). I’ve read more than one article that doesn’t look like that, but that’s this crazy world.”
Van Gaal said that while he has the confidence of the club’s hierarchy, his side must start winning.
“We have to get results, we have to win and we know that, the players know that, my staff know that,” he said.
“There is no doubt that we have to win because when you lose too much then even for me it is the end of the world.”
Van Gaal said three or four players who have been out injured could be set for a return and he is hopeful striker Wayne Rooney will be fit after a full week’s training.
Rooney has missed three matches with an ankle injury.
Defender Chris Smalling and midfielder Ander Herrera are also in contention for recalls.
“Rooney has been out for more or less two weeks so it is possible that he will play but we have to wait and see,” Van Gaal said.