LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester United manager Lous van Gaal has again dismissed reports he will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, saying on Friday he does not have to answer to the media.
The Dutchman’s future has been the subject of persistent speculation after United’s Champions League group-stage exit and indifferent Premier League displays sparked discontent among fans.
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was linked with Van Gaal’s job last and United were forced to deny a report that they had met with Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich boss who has said he wants to manage in the Premier League next season.
“I don’t think that the press have to help me with my decisions. First they have sacked me. Now they are interfering with my future. I don’t have to answer,” Van Gaal told reporters.
“I have a relationship with the players of Manchester United. That is the most important thing.
“Not everything the media are writing is true.”
United have struggled to replace Alex Ferguson who stepped down as manager after winning the Premier League title in 2013, the last of the 38 major trophies his teams won in more than 26 years in the job.
David Moyes lasted one season in which he led the team to seventh in the league and Van Gaal guided United to fourth in his first campaign.
They are now fifth in the table, two points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, and have improved in recent games — taking eight points from their last four, including a 1-0 victory at bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
Van Gaal said that while the pressure on him had eased “a little bit”, it would return if they did not beat 10th-placed Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“It is always the same pressure for Manchester United — we have to win. Our fans are always expecting us to win, especially at home,” he said.
United will again be forced to reshuffle their back four after winger Ashley Young, who has been filling in at full back, was ruled out for the foreseeable future with a severe groin problem.
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) and defender Phil Jones (ankle) are still unavailable through injury.
(Reporting by Justin Palmer, editing by Ed Osmond)