Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United's Louis Van Gaal misery goes on

Eight games without win and he still won't quit

By Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal insisted he would fight on as Manchester United manager and not consider resigning after seeing his team extend their winless run to eight games with a 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal, under mounting pressure after United suffered a fourth successive defeat in all competitions at Stoke on Boxing Day, has been urged to battle through the team's current difficulties by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

And with United dominating against the struggling champions, Van Gaal issued a defiant riposte to supporters and media who have called for him to be sacked.

"I cannot have any influence on that," Van Gaal said. "I can only work with my players and you have seen that my players are fighting for me and that they have given a good performance.

"When the players can give such a performance under this pressure, then it is not any reason to resign for me.

"Maybe the media wants that but I shall not do that. It's not a question of staying, it is a question of fulfilling my contract.

"Even after this result, the fans were applauding, so I cannot say that I am very much concerned, but in this football world, you never know."

"But I have full confidence in the board and in my players."

United face Swansea at Old Trafford on Saturday aiming to win for the first time since mid-November, but Van Gaal claimed that his team were denied victory following two rejected penalty appeals by referee Martin Atkinson.

"We hit the post twice when the keeper was beaten, then had a big chance in the second half and two penalty cases - one handball, one foul on Mata - but didn't receive a penalty," Van Gaal said.

"We were the dominant team, we created chances, we shot on goal and only gave three chances away. Against a team like Chelsea, with such attackers, that's not bad."

United skipper Wayne Rooney admitted the players owed it to themselves to produce an improved performance.

"We'd be letting ourselves down if we didn't go on to that pitch and let ourselves play football and give our all," the England striker said.

"You've seen the fans today -they follow us everywhere. We wouldn't be professional players if we didn't do that. We have to fight to the end.

"We're in a tough time, everyone knows that. We'll keep fighting and we'll come back again, we know that. But at the minute it's tough. We have to just keep working hard and I'm sure the victories will come."

Guus Hiddink, Chelsea's interim manager, insisted his team are locked in a relegation battle after the draw left them three points above the bottom three.

"Of course I am worried," Hiddink said. "But I would have been more worried if there was a lack of confidence or a lack of ambition."

Chelsea were missing Diego Costa to suspension and a number of injured players, so Hiddink was happy to emerge with a share of the spoils.

"I'm happy with a point because they were difficult circumstances for us, we had a lack of striking people - they are all injured," he said. "I can be happy with the performance of the team. We would have liked to score. In general, due to the circumstances, I'm happy with the performance."

Belfast Telegraph


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