Louis van Gaal has rubbished reports he has offered to quit as Manchester United manager, whilst also bemoaning the injury problems in his squad.
There is little doubt the Dutch coach had the majority of the United fans behind him last season, when he took the reigns from the sacked David Moyes and immediately returned the team to the top-four of the Premier League. However, it has been such a disappointing campaign this time round that it is now the case that a vast number of supporters have lost faith in him.
This is due to a dismal home record which has seen United go 11 consecutive first halves without scoring a goal; a drab approach to the style of football played; and early elimination from the Champions League at the group stages. The latest low came last weekend, when Southampton recorded a 1-0 win at Old Trafford to deny any fading title hopes.
It was suggested after this match that van Gaal had offered to quit his post, only for chief executive Ed Woodward to refuse his resignation. Indeed, some sources claim this is not the first time the Dutchman has made such an offer. But speaking before the trip to Derby County in the FA Cup on Friday night, the manager has denied he wants to quit the club.
“I have not mentioned [quitting] ever. You make your own stories, and then I have to answer. I am not doing that,” said van Gaal ahead of the trip to the iPro Stadium. “I think it is awful and horrible that you can write, and then I have to answer questions on those stories. People are believing those stories, and I am very concerned that people are believing it.
“Everybody knows I have signed a three-year contract [in the summer of 2014] and I have said it is a process. It is not one game it is a process and I want to continue until the end. If I was not willing to do that, I don’t think I would have started here one and a half years ago. When I say things to defend myself then it is not good. Why do I have to defend myself?”
Meanwhile, van Gaal believes much of United’s problems this season are down to their bad luck with injuries. Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Bastian Schweinsteiger have all joined the casualty list in recent weeks, and the former Holland coach claims this has played a key role in the team’s misfortune.
“When you see the circumstances that we have eight injuries, you cannot say that is the manager’s fault because there are five or six contact injuries and also in the same positions,” said the 64-year-old. “We have been first in the Premier League, may you remember that. That was one and a half months ago but the injuries are now and that is also a problem.”