Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening, and for manager Louis van Gaal it could well be his final game in charge. The Dutchman has been under intense pressure following a barren run of results, and in the aftermath of their Boxing Day defeat to Stoke City he hinted at resigning from his post.
“I can also quit by myself. That is something I speak to (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward about by himself, not with (the media). It is not always that the club has to fire or sack me. Sometimes I do it by myself. I am the one who wants to speak first with the board of Manchester United and with my members of staff and players,” said Van Gaal.
“(My future with Manchester United) is more difficult because I am also part of the four matches we have lost, so people are looking at me. It’s another situation so you have to wait and see. I have to deal with that. (Pressure) is now the big issue and shall be higher and higher every match. We have to solve that problem.”
Currently 6th in the Premier League after 18 games, Manchester United are nine points adrift of top spot. They have gone five games without a win, losing their last three on the bounce, and have scored a paltry three goals for their troubles. Such form sees them with a disappointing 29 points from 18 games, and rumours have arisen that a change in management will be in the offing soon.
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been tipped to be the next Manchester United manager with the Portugese coach having revealed he was keen to get straight back to work following his sacking from the Blues. Mourinho has also held an interest in taking over the United reigns for many years, and is said to be high up on the club’s shortlist should Van Gaal depart Old Trafford.
The biggest question is still how long Van Gaal will remain in charge of the Red Devils. Defeat to Chelsea would all but seal his fate accordingto various sources, but a positive result would throw his future in the air. Unless United have a man lined up to immediately step in for the struggling Dutch coach it’s unlikely Van Gaal will lose his job. Nevertheless, Monday’s Chelsea clash could be his last chance to turn things around.
Defeat for United could see them finish the day 12 points adrift of the Premier League leaders depending on results, while potentially seeing a gap emerge between them and the top-four. Van Gaal didn’t have to win the league in his second season, but show improvement from his debut campaign. With the clubout of the Champions League and spiralling out of the title race, he’s failing to meet his objectives.
Could Chelsea clash be his last stand as Manchester United manager?