Stoke-on-Trent - Louis van Gaal's position as Manchester United manager is in serious
jeopardy after his side's wretched form continued with a 2-0 defeat at
Stoke City on Saturday.
Pre-match media reports suggested Van Gaal
was one defeat away from the sack and the 64-year-old Dutchman saw his
team's run of games without a win extended to seven at a windswept
A weak back header from Memphis Depay enabled
Glen Johnson to tee up Bojan Krkic for Stoke's opener in the 19th minute
and Marko Arnautovic brilliantly slammed home the hosts' second goal
seven minutes later.
Asked if he felt he still had the support of
the United board and owners the Glazer family, Van Gaal told Sky Sports:
"It's another situation. We have lost the fourth game (in succession),
so you have to wait and see."
He added: "It's more difficult because I'm also part of the four matches that we have lost.
people are looking at me. I have to deal with that, but much more
important is that the players have to deal with that because they have
It is United's worst run of results since an
eight-game winless streak between December 1989 and January 1990, which
could cost Van Gaal his job 18 months after his appointment as the
successor to David Moyes.
Van Gaal, who dropped captain Wayne
Rooney to the bench, had described the fixture as "must-win", having
stormed out of his pre-match media conference due to the speculation
about his future.
In the last month United have slipped out of the
Premier League's top four and been eliminated from the Champions League
in the group phase following a 3-2 defeat at German side Wolfsburg.
They were knocked out of the League Cup by second-tier Middlesbrough in October.
face Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday and the defeat at Stoke is
likely to fuel speculation that the 20-time English champions will turn
to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea last week.
Stoke, managed by former United striker Mark Hughes, teased and
tormented the visitors on the pitch, the home fans goaded Van Gaal with
chants of "Jose Mourinho!" as the game wound down.
Gaal was rooted to his dug-out seat throughout the 90 minutes and
looked a shell-shocked figure as he walked away at the final whistle,
pausing briefly to wave to the travelling supporters.
Stoke took the game to United from the off, with Xherdan Shaqiri and Arnautovic causing particular problems.
blunder enabled Stoke to go ahead, Johnson seizing on the Dutch
winger's disastrous header and squaring for Bojan, who threaded a shot
through the legs of United defender Phil Jones on the line.
Stoke's second goal was a spectacular long-range strike from the right boot of Arnautovic.
Bojan's free-kick cannoned against the United wall, it broke for the
enigmatic Austrian, who produced a 20-yard thunderbolt for his sixth
goal of the season.
Arnautovic then had a wonderful chance to put
the game out of United's reach when he broke the offside trap in
latching onto Bojan's astute pass, but with only David de Gea to beat,
he dragged his shot wide.
It was no surprise that Van Gaal acted at half-time by bringing on Rooney for the ineffective Depay.
must have thought he had thrown his side a lifeline when he cut the
ball back for the unmarked Marouane Fellaini, but from eight yards out
the Belgian was thwarted by a one-handed save from Stoke goalkeeper Jack
Although Stoke failed to hit the heights of their
first-half display, they continued to look the more threatening going
forwards, with De Gea making crucial saves to prevent both Arnautovic
and Bojan getting on the scoresheet again.
"We took our chances with two good finishes and we were terrific," Hughes told the BBC.
"You always worry when you miss chances to make it 3-0, but we were reasonably comfortable."