Manchester - Louis van Gaal's position as Manchester United manager will
come under increased scrutiny after relegation-threatened Norwich secured a
shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Goals from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey either side of
half-time gave Alex Neil's team a 2-0 lead and Anthony Martial's reply for
United couldn't stop Norwich climbing out of the relegation zone thanks to
their first victory at United since 1989.
United were booed off at full-time by their disgruntled
supporters and a run of six matches without a win in all competitions, a
sequence that includes elimination from the Champions League and falling out of
the Premier League's top four, will lead to fresh questions about Van Gaal's
suitability for the job.
The Dutchman was taunted by Norwich supporters with chants
of "Jose Mourinho: He's taking your job", a reference to the former
Chelsea manager, who is free to seek another role after being sacked on
Van Gaal has faced growing criticism from fans and former
United players over the cautious style of his team's play.
And although they made a lively start before falling behind,
they failed to create enough pressure to merit victory.
Norwich defended doggedly in the face of early United
pressure and ensured that goalkeeper Declan Rudd was well protected.
Wayne Rooney, making his 500th United appearance, did have
the ball in the net in the 10th minute, but both he and Marouane Fellaini were
rightly ruled offside in the build-up.
Memphis Depay looped an effort over the bar from 20 yards,
before Rooney rolled a shot wide after Juan Mata had brushed aside Gary O'Neil.
Norwich did fire a warning when midfielder Tettey easily
sidestepped a Chris Smalling challenge before rolling a tame shot wide.
But more home pressure followed, with Rooney's out-swinging
cross from the right aimed at Depay eight yards out, and it needed a well-timed
Russell Martin challenge to deny the Netherlands international.
Norwich, having survived the opening 30 minutes without
conceding, began to pose more of a threat as they grew in confidence.
And they took the lead seven minutes before half-time, as
Nathan Redmond burst forward and played in Jerome, who broke the challenge of
Ashley Young before beating David De Gea, who could have done better with a
shot that was well within his reach.
As the second half began in pouring rain, United soon found
themselves two goals down.
Rooney lost the ball to Tettey, who played the galloping
Jerome forward, and continued his own run to collect the striker's return pass
and drive a low shot beyond the stationary De Gea.
United captain Rooney attempted to make amends with an
ambitious overhead kick over the bar, while the home fans demanded the
introduction of Ander Herrera - who was brought on with 30 minutes to go.
The home side pulled one back within five minutes of the
change, as Rooney got a flick to Young's right-wing delivery and Martial
sidestepped the challenges of Robbie Brady and Ryan Bennett to lash a shot high
into the net.
That was the signal for Van Gaal's team to increase the
pressure in the game's final quarter, but a big chance for an equaliser came
and went as Young's low right-wing ball rolled across goal, with Rooney unable
to stretch to get a touch.
Moments later, Rudd dived to his left to punch away a Mata
Norwich continued to threaten on the break, and only a smart
De Gea save prevented Youssouf Mulumbu from adding a third.
Smalling had the final chance for the home side, getting
forward to glance wide after breaking free into the penalty area on to Mata's
diagonal ball in.
But there was to be no late reprieve, and the frustrated
home fans greeted the final whistle with a chorus of boos.