Manchester - Manchester United vice-captain
Michael Carrick insisted on Sunday that under-fire boss Louis van Gaal still
commands the loyalty of the players and it is disrespectful to suggest
Van Gaal is expected to be out of work
later Monday if United lose to Chelsea at Old Trafford after a depressing run
for the English giants which has seen them exit the Champions League and slip
to sixth in the table.
United are now on their longest run without
a win in 25 years.
"It is a horrible run, and it is a
horrible feeling. It hurts badly," said Carrick.
"We can't hide from it, we're not
going to hide from it. That is how it is and we all need to be better.
"It is a bit disrespectful when people
say that the lads aren't trying for the manager.
"We're playing for this great club. It
is a special club. It is pride in yourself, pride in the club and pride in
everyone - your team-mates and staff."
Van Gaal oversaw training in Manchester on
Sunday and could be boosted in Monday's key clash by the return of German star
midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who has missed three games through
"When you lose four matches in a row
it's much more difficult," admitted the 64-year-old Van Gaal.
"It's like that. And the pressure of
the environment shall increase, so it's much more difficult and there are no
ways artificial ways to solve that. We need a victory and that is very
Despite his mounting problems, the Dutchman
backed Carrick's view that the players and the manager are on the same page.
"A month ago we were first in the
Premier League but we lost important games and now we have to come back in more
difficult situations than last year because last year everyone believed and
there was progression, now there is a fallback and that is different and
everybody is judging also different," he said.
"That is what is happening now and you
have to cope with it."
Should United fail to win on Monday, they
will end the year with their lowest points total in 26 years.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's interim manager Guus
Hiddink, a compatriot of Van Gaal's, leapt to the defence of another Dutchman
in the firing line - United midfielder Memphis Depay.
Depay was substituted in Saturday's 2-0
defeat at Stoke but Hiddink, who worked with the youngster during his time in
charge of the Dutch national team, insists he will come good.
"He's very young. When he was in
Holland he was one of the star players, at a very young age," said
"There is a lack of star players in
Holland who are playing already many years in their league so at a young age he
was seen as one of the big talents.
"He has this talent but he's also now
having a confrontation with the demands of the Premier League, which are much
higher in intensity of the game during 90 minutes.
"That's a period all players, not just
him, have to overcome, and I think they need time for that."