Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal said he could “quit by myself” after Stoke City condemned his side to a fourth straight defeat.

The Dutchman, under pressure after seven games without a win, was asked whether he feared he would be sacked.

“That is something I discuss with [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward not you,” Van Gaal told a media conference after the game.

“It is not always the club that has to fire or sack me.”

He added: “Sometimes I do that by myself, but I am the one who wants to speak first with the board of Manchester United and my members of staff and my players, not with you.”

United’s miserable run has seen them knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage and slip out of the top four in the Premier League.

“I have received [the club’s backing] all the time but we have lost so there is a new situation,” said Van Gaal.

“I feel the support of my players and my board. The fans will be disappointed but that is logical after four defeats.”


Stoke 2-0 Man Utd

Van Gaal does not think it is important that Woodward has not publicly backed him.

“For me it’s much more important that people are saying that to me,” he said. “I am not so interested in public sayings.”

Van Gaal saw his side quickly go behind to goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic, with United struggling to create chances as they tried to work their way back into the match in the second half.

“We have lost the game in the first 45 minutes because we didn’t dare to play our football. That is what I have analysed,” said Van Gaal, whose side’s next game is at home to Chelsea on Monday.

“The circumstances now play a bigger role and will in the next game also. We have to cope with that and look for the solution.

“It is very difficult as I’m also part of four losses and I have to cope with that and I have to manage that. More important is that my players shall manage that because they have to perform.”

Man Utd embarrassing – Shearer

Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer described United’s first-half performance as “pathetic”.

The former England striker said: “Van Gaal decided to take on the media this week and he picked a team he thought would scrap for him and that was the best they could do for him – that was embarrassing.

“On today’s evidence, the players are not willing. They put in a pathetic performance in the first half. He left his captain out as well and that is a big statement.

“His players are without doubt not performing at all so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he were to walk away.”

But fellow pundit Danny Murphy said he believed the Dutchman would not quit the club.

“My worry is that whoever comes in they’ve got a squad lacking athleticism,” said the former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder.

“With Jose Mourinho you’re guaranteed trophies and Pep Guardiola is the same. I’m sure there will be many meetings going on. They could do a lot worse than give it to [assistant manager] Ryan Giggs.”

‘Right decision on Rooney’

Van Gaal dropped Wayne Rooney to the bench for the game at the Britannia Stadium.

The England striker came on for the second half but United still struggled to create chances as they went four top-flight games without victory.

Club captain Rooney has scored just two league goals so far this season and rarely looked like adding to that tally at Stoke, although he did set up Marouane Fellaini for a chance that was impressively saved by home keeper Jack Butland.

Van Gaal added: “I thought it was the right decision [to leave out Rooney] otherwise I would not have done it.

“We were better in the second half but then we didn’t have anything to lose.”