LONDON (Reuters) – Under-pressure Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal knows losing too many more matches “could be the end of the world” but said he still has the full backing of the club’s board.
Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Chelsea took the spotlight off Dutchman Van Gaal on Friday but the vultures are circling after his side were knocked out of the Champions League after defeat by Wolfsburg and lost to modest Bournemouth last week.
He said his side, labouring in fourth in the Premier League, have to beat Norwich City on Saturday.
“The only answer is to win this game. It’s still difficult because we are playing in the Premier League, but at home you have to win, and that’s for sure,” Van Gaal, under fire for his tactics all season with fans blaming him for a lack of flair, told a news conference.
“I have the full confidence of my board and my players, that is what I feel.
“But we have to get results, we have to win. We know that, the players know that, I know that and the members of staff know that. There is no doubt that we have to win because when you lose too much then even for me it is the end of the world.”
Van Gaal spoke of the “crazy” world of football when discussing Mourinho’s sacking.
“It was a big surprise for me I didn’t expect that, a fantastic manager with a record that nobody has inhis football world,” Van Gaal said of title-winner Mourinho’s exit.
“But I said last week is that the main thing is results and the second thing is the chemistry between the players and the manager and his staff.
“I cannot judge what was happening there but was very surprised.
“It’s like that, managers know in advance, it’s this world. My players are fine (with me). I’ve read more than one article that doesn’t look like that, but that’s this crazy world.”
Van Gaal said three or four players who have been out injured could be set for a return and he is hopeful striker Wayne Rooney will be fit after a full week’s training.
Rooney has missed three matches with an ankle injury.
Defender Chris Smalling and midfielder Ander Herrera are also in contention for recalls.
“Rooney has been out for more or less two weeks so it is possible that he will play but we have to wait and see,” Van Gaal said.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman)