Van Gaal back at work

MANCHESTER. — Louis van Gaal did not offer to resign after watching his team’s latest home defeat at the hands of Southampton at the weekend, sources close to Manchester United said yesterday.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper earlier reported that the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, had persuaded the Dutchman to stay following the 1-0 defeat which resulted in fans booing the team and Van Gaal off the pitch.

Woodward told Van Gaal to speak to his family before making a decision over his future, the newspaper said. The Dutchman flew to the Netherlands on Sunday for his daughter’s birthday.

Van Gaal was expected to hold fresh talks with United’s hierarchy yesterday when he took over first-team training.

The Dutchman went back to work training Manchester United stars yesterday after the club denied he had offered to resign.

According to some media, Van Gaal faced a crunch meeting with United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward yesterday amid supporter anger over the 1-0 defeat by Southampton.

Van Gaal went back to the Netherlands after the Old Trafford loss for a planned family visit and the players were given Sunday and Monday off.

Amid intense speculation about his future, a Manchester United club source denied reports that the 64-year-old former Dutch national boss had offered his resignation on Saturday.

And Van Gaal was seen arriving at United’s Carrington complex to take training. Media reports said he was to have talks with the English giants top management later yesterday.

After suffering a sixth league defeat of the season, Van Gaal must also lift his players for Friday’s FA Cup fourth round trip to Derby County.

Loud jeers rang around Old Trafford as the team left the field following Saturday’s loss and another poor result would heighten pressure for change at Manchester.

With United now five points off the top four, out of the Champions League and having only won only three of their last 13 matches in all competitions, Van Gaal said later he could understand fans’ frustration.

“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans,” he said. “They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them.

The loss to Southampton left United in fifth place in the league table, trailing leaders Leicester City by 10 points and five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

The defeat also marked the first time this season that the increasingly impatient fans showed open dissent against the manager.

Van Gaal admitted for the first time after the game that he had failed at Old Trafford, saying he was disappointed and frustrated that he had not lived up to the fans’ expectations. — Reuters.

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