Van Gaal insists he can turn around Man Utd's slump

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Last chance saloon for Van Gaal
Last chance saloon for Van Gaal

Manchester United will be led by manager Louis van Gaal in Monday's Premier League game against Chelsea, but there are indications that it could be his final game in charge of the club even if he orchestrates a victory.

Van Gaal hinted after Saturday's game against Stoke that he may walk away from his job after overseeing a fourth successive defeat that saw an increasing majority of the club's fans calling on him to go.

The United boss is believed to have held talks with the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in the last 24 hours, with the decision for him to remain in charge for Monday's game not believed to be evidence that he will stay beyond that.

Van Gaal looked like a manager who suspected his time was up after the 2-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium, but he has checked into the United team hotel as scheduled for the vital game on Monday evening.

Writing in his programme notes for the Chelsea game, which were written before the desperate display at Stoke, Van Gaal will offer an upbeat message to United fans.

"We can turn this situation around," he states. "This is Manchester United. A club which is known around the world or never being beaten.

"There is no disguising the fact that we are in a very bad period, the worst I have known since I became Manchester United manager.

"Seeing the team get poor results is strange for you, but the best way to come out of this and improve is for us all to stick together.

"The last few weeks have been an extremely difficult time, not just for me, but for everyone associated with the club."

It remains to be seen what kind of reception Van Gaal will get from United fans at Old Trafford, with a fifth successive defeat against the Premier League champions certain to bring down the curtain on his troubled time at the club.

Jose Mourinho remains the favourite to succeed Van Gaal, with fresh reports emerging to suggest the manager sacked by Chelsea earlier this month has been offered the chance to make a return to Real Madrid in recent days.