LOUIS VAN GAAL is haunted by the prospect of ending his glittering managerial career with the sack.
Following Jose Mourinho’s shock departure at Chelsea, Van Gaal fears he could be the next big name to go if he fails to spark an immediate improvement in Manchester United’s results.
Van Gaal believes he still has the support of the Old Trafford board and his players but accepts some fans are beginning to lose faith after a six-week spell during which United have gone out of the Capital One Cup and Champions League, fallen six points behind Premier League leaders Leicester and struggled for goals.
And the 64-year-old Dutchman admits the prospect of being fired from what will be his last job in a management career spanning three decades is fuelling his desire to transform United’s fortunes.
“The pressure was higher when I was starting out as a manager because I had more to lose then but, no, that doesn’t affect my hunger or desire now because I don’t want to finish my career with the club sacking me,” he said.
“That would be a great disappointment for me to say goodbye to the football world by being fired. I think [protecting] my honour is much more of a pressure for me than the pressure of the media and the fans.”
Van Gaal was shocked by the departure of Mourinho, his coach in his first spell at Barcelona in the late 1990s, but says it serves as reminder that no one, whatever their track record, is safe from the sack if results take a prolonged dip.
Asked if he felt secure he said: “How can I answer that? I can’t. I feel I have the full confidence of my board and my players but we have to get results, we have to win, because when you lose too much it’s the end of the world for me also.
“Mourinho is a fantastic manager with a record that nobody has in this football world but it [the sack] was still possible. I cannot judge what is happening at Chelsea but it was a big surprise for me. I didn’t expect that.”
While Mourinho “lost” the Chelsea dressing room, Van Gaal denied suggestions the chemistry between him and his players has also broken down.
“The main thing is always the results and, second, the chemistry between the players and manager and his staff,” he said. “I’ve said several times the chemistry is fine here. I’ve seen articles that’s it’s not like that. It’s a bit crazy, but that is the world we live in.”