Under-fire Louis van Gaal insists Manchester United’s players showed they are willing to fight for him in the goalless draw with Chelsea.
United stretched their winless run to eight matches after their seventh goalless stalemate of the campaign at Old Trafford on Monday.
The Red Devils are in their lowest position at this stage of the season in 26 years, but there were enough encouraging signs for Van Gaal to deny he was about to resign, as he suggested he might after the 2-0 defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day.
Van Gaal has always said he will walk away from Old Trafford if he loses the support of his players. And after the improved display against the Premier League champions, he believes it is clear his charges are still behind him.
“I have said that when the players are fighting for me, I stay, because that is the most important thing and you have seen that (they are),” the United manager said.
“Inside of the club the players are willing to fight for every metre, the manager is willing to fight, the members of staff are willing to fight and the board is very confident in the staff and the manager so it (the negativity) is not inside Manchester United.”
A few United fans made it clear they wanted Jose Mourinho in the home dugout, rather than Van Gaal. Red scarves with Mourinho’s face on them were being sold by unofficial vendors outside the stadium.
A handful of fans snapped them up for the asking price of £10 and inside the stadium, one fan held up a placard that read: “Leave, Vanish, Go”.
But for the most part, the United fans appreciated the attacking football on display in the first half. The full-backs overlapped the wingers, the forwards ran at Chelsea’s defence with purpose and the tempo was much higher.
Juan Mata and Anthony Martial struck the woodwork and Thibaut Courtois saved acrobatically to deny Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera.