Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal could quit

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Louis van Gaal admitted his job is becoming “more difficult” after Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke and suggested he could decide to walk out.

The under-pressure Dutchman has seen his side drop out of the Premier League’s top four and out of the Champions League, and they suffered a fourth successive defeat on Boxing Day – the first time for United within a single season for 54 years.

United are now seven games without a win in all competitions, and the 64-year-old was in sombre mood at the Britannia Stadium with his 17-month tenure at Old Trafford hanging in the balance.

When asked if he still had the support from the club’s hierarchy, Van Gaal told the media: “I can also quit by myself. That is something I speak to [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward about by himself – not with you.

“It is not always…the club has to fire or sack me. Sometimes I do it by myself. I am the one who wants to speak first with the board of Manchester United and with my members of staff and players – and not with you.”

It was another miserable show from United and they deserved little against Mark Hughes’ sparkling side, despite improving in the second half with Wayne Rooney introduced at the interval.

Asked by Sources if he was still the man for the job, Van Gaal added: “It’s more difficult because I am also part of the four matches we have lost, so people are looking at me.

“And I have to deal with that, but much more important is that the players have to deal with that because they have to perform. [Pressure] is now the big issue. I try to do everything but the pressure shall be higher and higher every match, and we have to solve that problem.”

Van Gaal cut his press conference short on Wednesday, taking just three questions and asking for an apology as he accused the media of publishing false reports on his future.

Van Gaal was asked about the incident after the Stoke defeat, and whether he was upset by questions about his job security.

He stated: “I was not hurt. You don’t understand my message. My message is that the media are saying and writing things that does not confirm with what is happening in Manchester United. That was my message, not that I am hurt, because I am used to that.

“[The decision on my future] is another situation, we have lost the fourth game so you have to wait and see.”