Van Gaal in defiant mood as Bournemouth defeat piles on pressure
The odds on Manchester United sacking manager Louis van Gaal have plunged after his week from hell ended with a 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.
Van Gaal is now third favourite to face the axe after his side's latest horror show, which came just a few days after they were dumped out of the Champions League.
United side were beaten into submission by a spirit Bournemouth side, who added the scalp of the 13-time Premier League champions to their record a week after their famous win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Van Gaal's injury hit line-up at Bournemouth featured a host of youthful performers and they missed the chance to join Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings after a jaded display.
With United fans exploding with anger on social media at the latest setback, Van Gaal's post match analysis suggested he was content with his side's efforts as he put their defeat down to, among other factors, bad luck.
"I am always having confidence and when the players perform in this way, I have confidence," said Van Gaal, as his complimented his players on their display.
"Bournemouth pressed on the ball in a fantastic way and it makes it more difficult to get the equaliser.
"It is always very disappointing when you are at the top of the table when you lose to a club at the bottom of the table.
"We showed the character. I said that to the players because I liked the attitude. The commitment is very high and that is the most important thing.
"I had the feeling we could win here but the second set-play they scored again and then it is very difficult to equalise because Bournemouth is fighting together and pressing always so it is difficult to create chances.
"We tried until the end, we had chances, but then you need also some luck."
Van Gaal went on to describe the mood of his players after their latest disappointment.
"The silence in the dressing room was big," he added. "Of course I have already spoken but it takes a long time. We have to train, we have to prepare for Norwich City and we have to beat them.
"That is our aim and purpose but it is of course more difficult when you lose two times in a row. It is a very bad moment to lose.
"We have to put the heads up again and believe in ourselves because that is also very important. We have to prepare for this match in the same way as we always do.”
The calls for Van Gaal to be axed are mounting among United supporters, with Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti emerging as a popular choice to take over at Old Trafford:
If Carlo Ancelotti is available to take over as Man Utd boss, there would be no harm in making a change now. Can't see this improving #MUFC— Kevin Palmer (@kpsundayworld) December 12, 2015
It remains to be seen whether the United board will be tempted to end the Van Gaal era now, but it is clear that the concern surrounding his tenure as manager is now exploding into a fully blown crisis.
Here are the revised odds on which manager is next for the axe in the Premier League:
Jose Mourinho (Chelsea) 2/1
Steve McClaren (Newcastle) 5/1
Louis van Gaal (Man Utd) 5/2
Alex Neil (Norwich) 8/1
Remi Garde (Aston Villa) 12/1