Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal pointed to his crippling injury list but admitted the fans were right to boo after the 1-0 home defeat to Southampton.
Southampton sub Charlie Austin headed the winner on 87 minutes from James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick after being on the field for just seven minutes.
“I had a feeling they could score only from a set-play. Our defence in set-plays was weaker because I changed Fellaini and had to change Darmian. Every change was a weakness in defence,” said Van Gaal.
“I wanted to win this game and that’s why I changed Cameron Borthwick-Jackson for Adnan Januzaj. That is a risk you take, it was a poor game and we didn’t create so much and neither did our opponent.
“Because you have to meet expectation and expectations are very high, that gives a lot of pressure for the players.”
Asked whether the Old Trafford fans were right to boo, he added: “They are right, I cannot deny that. I have seen the match also. In better or for worse we have to stick together.
“We are working very hard but we have a lot of injuries that you cannot change.
“Nevertheless we have won three times in 2016 and a draw so we have very good results in January but we could not show it in this game. I did not see that confidence today.”
United’s defensive crisis appears to have worsened after Matteo Darmian was forced off with an injury.
The Italian clashed heads with Saints striker Shane Long during the second half and went straight down the tunnel and Van Gaal confirmed he has gone to hospital.
“He’s in hospital. He was spitting blood so we have to wait and see,” added Van Gaal.
Van Gaal also admitted after the final whistle that fans’ support for him had sunk to an all-time low.
“Yes, because it was very clear,” the United manager said when asked if it was the worst reaction he had heard to a result during his time in charge at Old Trafford.
“I can understand also because I have seen also a poor match.
“I cannot change that feeling. I can only work hard with my players to improve our game.
“I am disappointed. We have to change this. That is my job and not an easy job at the moment.”
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has backed Van Gaal to the tune of £250million since appointing him as Moyes’ successor in the summer of 2014.
United could stomach another season without Champions League football in a financial sense, but every defeat or insipid display deals a blow to the club’s prestige and standing in the game.
Van Gaal knows that too, but he does not appear to be aware of whether his job is now in serious jeopardy.
“I cannot answer that because normally I communicate everything with everybody so it is not for me to answer these kinds of questions,” the former Ajax manager said when asked whether he feared for his future.