Belfast Telegraph

Odds slashed on Louis van Gaal to get Manchester United sack with Jose Mourinho favourite for Old Trafford hotseat

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal getting the sack, with Jose Mourinho favourite to replace him.

United, winless in their last five games in all competitions and beaten in their last two, are out of the Champions League and fourth in the Barclays Premier League, six points behind leaders Leicester.

Their playing style under boss Louis Van Gaal has been widely criticised and reports have suggested there has been player unrest in the camp.

Today, bookies made Van Gaal 6/4 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to get the sack.

Steve McLaren, who has come through a dismal spell at Newcastle, was moved to 5/1 in the betting.

While Jose Mourinho was at one stage 2/1 favourite to become the next permanent manager at Old Trafford.

However, van Gaal is confident his players are with him and that he is backed by the board - but has no doubt if results do not improve it could mean "the end of the world" for him.

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But, as he acknowledged in the wake of Jose Mourinho's sacking at Chelsea that no manager's job is safe, Van Gaal also made it clear he knows his own position could come under threat should United not start doing what he has emphasised they must - quickly start putting more points on the board.

Asked on Friday ahead of Saturday's home league clash with Norwich about the relationship between him and his players, Van Gaal said: "It's fine.

Read more: Guus Hiddink on the brink of accepting Chelsea job for a second time

"I've said that already more than once, but I have seen articles that it's not like that. It is a little bit crazy.

"I have the full confidence of my board and my players I feel.

"But we have to get results. We have to win, and we know that. There is not any doubt.

"We have to win because when you lose too much, also for me it's the end of the world."

Van Gaal had already by that point emphasised the importance of player-manager "chemistry" as he expressed his shock at the news about Mourinho.

Van Gaal said: "It was a big surprise to me.

"He is a fantastic manager with a record that nobody has in this football world, but it is still possible.

"The main thing is always, of course, first the results, and second, the chemistry between the players and the manager and staff."

When asked if the fact Mourinho had been axed so soon after guiding Chelsea to the 2014-15 Premier League title showed no manager was safe, Van Gaal said: "Yes, it is like that. But we know that in advance. Also Jose knows that. This is the world."

United have drawn four of their last six home games 0-0 and among the critics of a playing style widely regarded as dull are some of the club's fans, who have been voicing their frustration at matches with boos and shouts of "attack, attack, attack".

Asked about that disgruntlement and whether he felt the supporters were still with him, Van Gaal said: "It's always like that when you lose. Then fans have to prove their belief again.

"The board can see what you can do as a manager in practice but the fans cannot see that, so when you lose you need the belief of the fans.

"It is a question for the fans, not the manager."

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