[ MORE: LVG’s time up? ]
Van Gaal, 64, was said to have offered to quit but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward rejected his resignation and convinced him to stay on, despite the most vociferous damnation to date of his methods and his team as United’s fans booed and jeered at half time and after the loss.
Multiple outlets in the UK are now reporting that the veteran Dutch coach did not throw in the towel, despite United recording their lowest-ever Premier League points tally (37) after 23 games of a season.
[ MORE: Van Gaal – “Fans right to boo” ]
United currently sit five points out of the Premier League’s top four, have only won two of their last 10 games and have failed to score in the first half of their last 11 games at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal’s contract runs until the end of the next season but many believe he will likely see out this season and leave. That said, his tenure is looking increasingly unstable as his assistant Ryan Giggs is being groomed as his successor and may be thrown in at the deep end in the coming weeks.
If United lose their FA Cup fourth round tie on Friday at second-tier Derby County then it’s not too hard to imagine Van Gaal walking on his own accord, something he said he would be willing to do back in December.
Van Gaal looked a beaten man following the defeat to Southampton and gave his squad Sunday and Monday off to regroup ahead of the FA Cup clash. In his post-match press conference on Saturday he said the fans were “right to boo” and also gave a pretty damning verdict of his own performance which suggests even if he remains in charge in the short-term he doesn’t have much of a future at the Theatre of Dreams.
“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans,” Van Gaal said. “They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfill them, so I am very frustrated because of that.”
What lies next for United? Well, they are reportedly not in the running to hire Pep Guardiola, while former targets Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp are locked into long-term contracts with new clubs. Jose Mourinho is still out of work but the fact there has been no approach for him over the last six to seven weeks since Chelsea fired him suggests they aren’t sure if he’s the man.
Giggs is the favorite to take over should LVG leave but he has no head coaching experience. How on earth have one of the richest and most famous clubs on the planet in this situation where, seemingly, managers don’t want to join them and even the manager they have seems unsure if he can fix the many problems the squad is facing.