Football: Van Gaal acknowledges Man United pressure

Van Gaal arriving for the match.
Van Gaal arriving for the match.PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted that his position was under scrutiny after his side's 2-1 defeat at home to Norwich City on Saturday.

United have lost their last three matches in all competitions and have gone six games without victory, while they now trail Premier League leaders Leicester City by nine points.

Van Gaal has already taken flak over the poor quality of United's play and with Jose Mourinho now a free agent following his sacking by Chelsea on Thursday, the Dutchman admitted that he was in the spotlight.

"That's the football world," he said. "I know that, my board knows that, my players know that. We're not used to that because normally we win, so it's a difficult period.

"We've lost three matches in a row, so it's not happening so much for Manchester United. We can't accept that and that's why I have to repeat, we have to stick together and believe in ourselves.

"I've encountered these circumstances also with other teams and other staff. The main thing is that you have to be professional and do the things that you have to do and work very hard to come out of this bad period."

Asked if he thought that United would stand by him, he replied: "It's not up to me to say about that question, but we shall see."

United dominated the first half, but fell behind in the 38th minute when Cameron Jerome side-stepped the sliding Ashley Young before driving the ball through United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Alexander Tettey made it 2-0 in the 55th minute, robbing Wayne Rooney on halfway, exchanging passes with Jerome and toeing the ball home.

Anthony Martial slammed home for United 10 minutes later, but with assistant manager Ryan Giggs encouraging his players from the touchline while Van Gaal sat impassively in the dug-out, the hosts failed to find an equaliser.

United's defeat, their first at home this season, saw them slip out of the top four ahead of next weekend's trip to Stoke City, which is followed by a home game with Chelsea on Dec 28.