Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s position at the club is set to be reviewed on a game-by-game basis and the Dutchman will be in charge for the Red Devils’ FA Cup fourth round tie at Derby County on Friday, according to reports in the Guardian.
The scrutiny has increased on Van Gaal after another limp showing at the weekend against Southampton led to United slumping to their sixth defeat of the season which left them five points off fourth place, which is currently occupied by Tottenham Hotspur.
Van Gaal was allowed a two-day break after the Southampton game during which he reconsidered his position after it was understood the 64-year-old offered to resign in the immediate aftermath of the Saints loss. The Dutchman took training on Tuesday upon his return and also discussed his situation with the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
Woodward – who previously twice rejected Van Gaal’s offer of resignation, the latest of which was after United endured their worst-ever December in the club’s 138-year history – is short of options to replace Van Gaal and is keen to wait until the summer to make an overhaul.
The have been noises regarding Jose Mourinho’s interest in the Man Utd job but the fact he has been ignored so far is a reflection of the fact Woodward doesn’t fancy the Portuguese. For now though, it appears Van Gaal will be in charge of the Derby game, and if the situation changed, assistant manager Ryan Giggs is expected to take over the reins for the short term.
A defeat to Derby would likely spell the end of Van Gaal’s tenure at the club, but if United manage to negotiate the tie and beat the Rams, Van Gaal’s position will then be reviewed after the Stoke City game in the Premier League next Tuesday. The lack of any outstanding candidate to replace Van Gaal at this stage of the season has been believed to be a key factor in the Dutchman still finding himself in the Red Devils dugout.
Among the candidates under Woodward’s consideration, only Mourinho and former Chile managers Jorge Sampaoli and Marcelo Bielsa are unattached, while the likes of Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Gary Neville are all under contracts.
Meanwhile, the players have been left in a state of limbo under the cloud of uncertainty over Van Gaal, and the sense is that the manager’s authority is receding with each limp performance. Whether they turn up at their 100 percent for the Derby game is the big question now, with a defeat almost certain to be Van Gaal’s final act at the club.