The experienced Dutchman, in his second season in charge of England’s biggest club, is favourite to become the next managerial casualty in the Premier League after his side’s six-match winless streak in all competitions.
After taking training at United’s Carrington training complex, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stoke City, a po-faced Van Gaal went on the attack, before inviting journalists to enjoy the press room mince pies and saying “goodbye”.
Asked if he agreed with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s opinion that his treatment by sections of the media had been “disrespectful”, Van Gaal said: “Has anyone in this room not got a feeling to apologise to me? Nobody has that feeling? That’s what I’m wondering?
“I think I was already reading I had been sacked,” he continued, referring to mounting speculation that Jose Mourinho, sacked by champions Chelsea last Thursday, was poised to replace him in the United hot seat.
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Van Gaal said this week’s stories suggesting he would be lucky to last through the busy holiday fixture list had affected his wife, children and grandchildren as well as the Manchester United fans.
“Do you think that I want to talk with the media now?” the 64-year-old said, glaring at the assembled throng.
“I’m here only because of the Premier League rule. I have to talk to you, but I can see that I only have to say something and you use my words in your context.
“I want to say only that I have tried to lift the confidence of my players I have done everything this week. I held meetings, evaluation meetings with my players and members of staff.
“I held the Christmas lunch, I made a speech and I felt the warmth and the support of everybody at Carrington, at this training complex but I didn’t feel that in the media.
“I only say now that I’m focused on Stoke City, I help my players, I wish you a Merry Christmas and maybe a Happy New Year when I see you, enjoy the wine and maybe a mince pie, goodbye,” before getting up and walking out.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.