Louis van Gaal's season of ups and downs at Manchester United
Louis van Gaal is coming under increasing pressure at Manchester United following his side's 1-0 defeat against Southampton on Saturday.
Here, Press Association Sport tracks the ups and downs of a turbulent campaign for the Dutchman.
THE PERFECT START
United opened their Barclays Premier League campaign with a 1-0 victory against Tottenham at Old Trafford. While it was not a convincing performance from Van Gaal's side, five new faces were blooded - including Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger - to provide United fans with hope of a championship charge.
Van Gaal's side then booked their Champions League ticket with a 7-1 aggregate victory over FC Bruges. Captain Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought with a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 win in Belgium to fire United back in to Europe's elite club competition following a one-season absence.
United spent a reported £36million - with potentially millions more to follow in add-ons - to make 19-year-old Anthony Martial British football's most expensive teenager. The highly-rated Frencman was Van Gaal's sixth major signing of the summer after he joined Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Sergio Romero at Old Trafford.
DE GEA U-TURN
Goalkeeper David De Gea put pen to paper on a new four-year deal at Old Trafford in September to end speculation surrounding his future. The Spaniard had looked set to join Real Madrid, but his £29milllion move to his homeland sensationally collapsed on deadline day before he committed his future to United.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game as United completed a league double over fierce rivals Liverpool with victory in January. Following their 3-1 victory at Old Trafford back in September, Rooney netted with 12 minutes remaining in Liverpool to secure a much-needed victory for Van Gaal's side. But with a defeat at home to Southampton to follow it proved to be something of a false dawn.
MISFIRING UNITED FLOP AT GUNNERS
Arsenal scored three goals inside the opening 20 minutes to sweep Manchester United aside at the Emirates Stadium on October 4. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil scored twice in 74 seconds before Sanchez added a third. The defeat ended a run of four consecutive victories for Van Gaal's side.
CAPITAL ONE KO
Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all missed penalties as United were knocked out of the League Cup by Championship side Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on October 23.
United's return to the Champions League failed to progress beyond the group stages after they were beaten 3-2 by Wolfsburg in their final group game. United looked to have sealed qualification with eight minutes left when Maroune Fellaini's header was deflected into his own net by Joshua Guilavogui, but Wolfsburg scored two minutes later to seal United's fate.
Just days after their Champions League exit, United slumped to a surprise 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth on December 12. Junior Stanislas scored directly from a second-minute corner and, although Marouane Fellaini levelled, Joshua King wrapped up the win in the second half.
One week after their defeat against Bournemouth, United then lost 2-1 at home to another of the newly-promoted sides. This time it was Norwich who would upset Van Gaal as the Canaries claimed their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989. United left the field to boos after failing to win for a sixth game in succession
VAN GAAL STORMS OUT
Two days before Christmas Van Gaal walked out of a press conference after becoming annoyed about speculation regarding his future. Rumours had suggested the Dutchman was about to be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho. But after just five minutes at his weekly press conference, Van Gaal refused to take any more questions and walked out. United then lost at Stoke on Boxing Day.
VAN GAAL IN "FAT" JIBE
Three weeks after walking out of his press conference, Van Gaal caused further controversy when he appeared to call a journalist "fat". As he left his preview press conference ahead of United's match at Newcastle, the Dutchman, who had been defending Wayne Rooney's form, turned to a reporter and said: "You too. Fat man. There."
ON THE BRINK
United supporters once again vented their anger towards Van Gaal after watching their team put on yet another dull, uninspiring performance in a 1-0 defeat against Southampton. There was no doubting who the home supporters blamed for this latest insipid display. Van Gaal was jeered at as he walked down the tunnel. The message was clear - he is no longer wanted by some of them - but will they get their wish?
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