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

Published 18/12/2015

Louis van Gaal's tactics remain a hot topic at Manchester United
Louis van Gaal's tactics remain a hot topic at Manchester United

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.

Read more: The Special One's available; surely United must move

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.

Jose Mourinho's best moments: Would you like me to lapdance for you?
Jose Mourinho made an appearance on Italian television show Chiambretti Night, shortly after his move to Italy. As England manager Fabio Capello once found out, part of the show involves a private dance from a scantily clad woman. Mourinho appeared to find it difficult to stay awake for the performance.
Jose Mourinho's best moments: Would you like me to lapdance for you? Jose Mourinho made an appearance on Italian television show Chiambretti Night, shortly after his move to Italy. As England manager Fabio Capello once found out, part of the show involves a private dance from a scantily clad woman. Mourinho appeared to find it difficult to stay awake for the performance.
Mourinho announces his arrival
Mourinho's first press conference in England, staged to announce his appointment as Chelsea manager, was to both start the trend of things to come and lay the foundations for his legend:
'Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.'
Time to celebrate Before Mourinho was appointed as manager of Chelsea, many English fans were already aware of his existence - especially Manchester United fans. In charge of Porto, his team came to Old Trafford and beat the odds by knocking United out of the Champions League thanks to a last minute goal. As Costinha bundled the ball home, Mourinho set off on a wild run down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate.
Le Professor? Non. Le Voyeur 'I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur,' Mourinho famously said of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in October 2005. 'He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.'
Winning the title After Mourinho's assertion that he was the 'Special One', the Portuguese wasted no time in proving the doubters wrong. In his first season as Chelsea boss, he led the club to their first league title in 50 years. He would go on to win the league title again the following season as well as the FA Cup, two League Cups and one Community Shield during his time in charge.
Omelettes and eggs 'It is omelettes and eggs. No eggs - no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs.' Mourinho was explaining in his own special way the issue of money drying up at Stamford Bridge. He continued: 'In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.'
Terrier threat Mourinho was arrested and cautioned in 2007 after allegedly refusing to allow police to quarantine his pet dog. He reportedly rushed home from an awards ceremony after he was tipped off by his wife about what was going on. Upon returning home, eyewitnesses claimed he freed the animal from the health officials, rushed out into the street and encouraged his pet to run off. He then told them, 'I've sent my dog to St Tropez.'
Pressure ....We're told that football managers are under constant pressure. But Mourinho didn't agree: Pressure? There is no pressure. Bird Flu is pressure. (The press laugh) No, you laugh, but I am being serious. I am more worried about the swan then I am about football.
Out with the laundry This story is unproven, but the audacity of it if it is true makes it worth recounting. Mourinho was banned by Uefa from having any contact with his Chelsea players during the 2005 Champions League quarter-finals. To get around this, it's alleged that Mourinho sneaked into the ground early and gave both the pre-game and half-time team-talks. While the game was in play, Mourinho watched from the dressing room and relayed instructions to assistant Rui Faria, who it's suggested was wearing an earpiece - covered by a suspiciously large hat (pictured). After the game Mourinho was reportedly wheeled out of the stadium in a laundry basket.
On the bus Following a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho quipped:
'As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal.'
Sssshhhh... Mourinho bagged his first trophy for Chelsea with a Carling Cup triumph over Liverpool. But at the time almost as much was made of his gesture to Liverpool fans as was Chelsea's 3-2 win. When Steven Gerrard scored a late own-goal to send the match into extra-time, Mourinho turned to the Liverpool fans, who had been barracking him all game, and put his finger to his lips as if to suggest 'be quiet'. Mourinho later claimed he was gesturing towards the press - but no-one believed him.
Rijkaard and the ref 'When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee's dressing room I couldn't believe it. When Drogba was sent off I didn't get surprised.'
This quote from Mourinho caused a storm. The Chelsea boss was suggesting that Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had paid a visit to the dressing room of referee Anders Frisk during half-time of their Champions League encounter. It was a hugely damaging statement that led to a two match ban for Mourinho, saw him labelled the 'enemy of football' by Uefa's head of referees, and led to the retirement of Frisk who was receiving death threats following the match.
Melons Mourinho apparently liked using food as an analogy for his thoughts, as he proved when discussing his youth players at Chelsea:
'Young players are a little bit like melons. Only when you open and taste the melon are you 100 per cent sure that the melon is good. Sometimes you have beautiful melons but they don't taste very good and some other melons are a bit ugly and when you open them, the taste is fantastic. For example, Scott Sinclair, the way he played against Arsenal and Man United, we know the melon we have.'
Chin up
An enduring image of Mourinho was his gesture to Chelsea fans that they keep their 'chin up' following a draw to Arsenal that ended their hopes of another league title. His strength in the face of defeat was another feather in his bow.
It's the president When Mourinho when asked by a Ghanaian journalist if he ever phoned Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to see how he was, the Portuguese replied:
'Would you phone the president of Ghana?'
Bonjourno Mourinho showed no signs of letting up after his move to Italy. Much like his introduction to England, he captivated the press at the first opportunity. In his opening press conference he spoke fluent Italian (something he claimed to have learned in three-weeks 'because I'm very intelligent'). And following one awkward question, Mourinho paused before delivering a classic piece of Milanese slang: 'Non sono un pirla' - 'I'm not a d**khead'. The room exploded in laughter and brought Mourinho his first round of applause on Italian soil.
Take him down Mourinho's popularity waned during his time in Italy, when his constant jibes at officials, managers and referees antagonised just about everyone in Italy, including his own fans. A notable episode involved the Special One performing a 'handcuffs' gesture after seeing Inter's Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba sent off and Samuel Eto'o booked in a match with Sampdoria. He received a three-game ban.
Leaving on a high Despite the mutual disharmony between Mourinho and Italy in general, after completing an unprecedented treble with Inter Milan last season, a shared respect was formed. Mourinho would leave Inter shortly after their Champions League triumph, declaring:
'My work here is done. I have been very happy at Inter but not in the world of Italian football because I don't like all the comments from presidents, coaches and papers. But I will always like Inter. I want to thank Italian football because I have become a better coach for it.'
Up to his old tricks Ahead of the first of Real Madrid's current four meetings with Barcelona, it was announced shortly before a press conference that Mourinho would not be answering questions. Instead, his assistant Aitor Karanka would be speaking. But then, rather bizarrely, Mourinho attended the press conference yet continued his silence. Journalists were furious and staged a mass walk-out.
The Premier League success is Jose Mourinho's third with the club
Jose Mourinho says his Premier League-winning side will have to be even better next season
Crowning moment: Jose Mourinho and Chelsea bid farewell to Didier Drogba after lifting the Premier League trophy
Shocking: Jose Mourinho has been left stunned by events at Chelsea this season
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side are under pressure going into the clash with Liverpool
Eva Carneiro
A supporters wearing a Jose Mourinho mask waves from his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on October 31, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Chelsea fans hold a banner to show their faith to Jose Mourinho prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Chelsea fans wearing Jose Mourinho, John Terry and Diego Costa masks are seen on the stand prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho watched as his side lost 3-1 to Liverpool
Out of form: Diego Costa was on the bench for Chelsea
Chelsea's assistant manager Steve Holland (left), Diego Costa and Kenedy (right) before the Barclays Premier League match at the White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 29, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (top) passes Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho as he goes to warm up during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in north London on November 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (R) walks along the touch line during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in north London on November 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (cenrtre) with assistants Rui Faria (left) and Steve Holland on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at The King Power Stadium, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 14, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Leicester. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's miserable season shows no sign of improving
Jose Mourinho has left Chelsea
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: A Stoke City fan wears a Jose Mourinho mask as he poses with a P45 for Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho

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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