Louis van Gaal declined to answer whether he may quit Manchester United after admitting he is failing to meet the fans’ expectations.
A poisonous atmosphere took hold at Old Trafford on Saturday after Van Gaal’s side slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Southampton.
As soon as Charlie Austin nodded in his 87th-minute winner, some United fans started hurling abuse at Van Gaal in the home dugout.
It was not an enjoyable experience for the United manager or executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who fixed his eyes on Van Gaal from the directors’ box after the final whistle.
Reports on Monday suggest Van Gaal could soon quit or be sacked, but the Dutchman refused to say whether he would resign in his post-match briefing.
“This question, I shall never answer to you,” the United manager snapped.
United are now five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League standings with 15 matches left, but the team’s style of play and performances are just as big an issue for the club’s supporters.
Van Gaal accepts he is failing to convince them.
“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans,” he said.
“They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them, so I am very frustrated because of that.”
There was no objection from Van Gaal to the jeering that came his way as he trudged down the touchline with clipboard in hand.
“I agree with them, so it doesn’t have any impact (on me),” he said.
“They have also knowledge of football, of entertaining football, and you have to play football to entertain the fans.
“(On Saturday), I don’t think we have entertained the fans, so they can be very angry.”
Van Gaal on transfer record
Van Gaal, who has spent over £250million since joining United, bridled at the suggestion he has been wasteful in the transfer market.
“We have also sold a lot of players. I never read that,” he said.
“You know when Manchester United is coming, we have to pay much more than another club, so that’s also an analysis, and it is not rubbish what I am saying.”
The Dutchman concedes Saturday’s result means United have a tough task on their hands qualifying for the Champions League.
“We want to be in the top three, and we’re not in the top three, and now, after (Saturday), our competitors have won, so it’s a setback,” he said.
Van Gaal suggested bad luck, particularly with injuries, and the opposition’s tendency to defend in numbers at Old Trafford, were the main reasons behind the current slump in form.
“There are different aspects. We are not very lucky with our injuries, that’s a problem,” said Van Gaal, who watched Matteo Darmian hobble off in the second half holding his chest after an aerial collision with Shane Long.
“Now we are missing five full-backs.
“But nevertheless, we had to win, and we could have won, but it is not happening.
“You have seen two teams who were very busy with tactics, but they don’t create many chances, and that’s why it was a poor match.”