Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal walks out of news conference

Under-pressure Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal answered only three questions before walking out of a news conference on Wednesday.

The 64-year-old Dutchman was unhappy at being asked about his future following speculation that he could be sacked.

The media briefing, ahead of Saturday’s game at Stoke, lasted only five minutes before Van Gaal’s departure.

The former Netherlands boss said he had only turned up to speak to journalists because of Premier League rules.

As he left, he told the reporters: “I wish you a merry Christmas and maybe also a happy new year when I see you. Enjoy the wine and a mince pie. Goodbye.”

United are without a win in six games, having lost their last three matches to Wolfsburg, Bournemouth and Norwich.

Four minutes and 58 seconds
Van Gaal was in an angry mood from the moment he took his seat in the media room at the club’s training ground in Carrington.

“Has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologise to me? That’s what I’m wondering,” he responded after being asked about Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s earlier claim that speculation about Van Gaal’s future had been “disrespectful”.

The news conference lasted only four minutes and 58 seconds in total.

Van Gaal, who has also managed Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is halfway through his three-year Old Trafford contract.
Reluctant appearance
Van Gaal said his family and friends had been adversely affected by the criticism, amid rumours that sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is poised to replace him.

“What do you think happens with my wife or my kids?” he snapped.

“Or with my grandchildren? Or with the fans of Manchester United? Or my friends? What do you think?

“So you think that I want to talk with the media now. I am here only because of the Premier League rules. I have to talk with you.”
Mourinho speculation
Van Gaal is under pressure following United’s dip in league form and early exit from the Champions League.

The club are fifth in the table, below fourth-placed Tottenham on goal difference but nine points behind surprise leaders Leicester.

Chelsea’s sacking of Mourinho, 52 – who has been tipped as a possible replacement – has only intensified the pressure on Van Gaal.
News conference transcript
Question 1: “Louis, thank you for your time. Arsene Wenger has said today that the speculation over your future is disrespectful. Is that something you agree with?”

Answer: “Erm, has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologise to me? Nobody has that feeling? That’s what I’m wondering?”

Question 2: “What have we done wrong?”

Answer: “I think I was already sacked, I have read… I have been sacked. My colleague [replacement] was here already.

“What do you think that happens with my wife or with my kids or with my grandchildren or with the fans of Manchester United or my friends? What do you think? They have called me a lot of times and also Arsene Wenger is saying something about that.

“Do you think that I want to talk with the media now? I’m here only because of the Premier League rules. I have to talk with you. But I can only see when I say something that 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 hold meetings, evaluation meetings with the players, with my members of staff, I hold a Christmas lunch, I have held a speech and I feel the warmth and support of everybody in Carrington, this Aon training complex.

“But I didn’t feel that in the media and, of course, I can imagine that you can write about that subject. We are not in a good position but four weeks ago we were first in the Premier League and in about four weeks we can again be back in that position.

Question 3: “You have been though Louis at big clubs, huge clubs before. This is Manchester United and when results don’t go well and when the supporters have turned it is inevitable that speculation will happen. You surely aren’t surprised that there is speculation?”

Answer: “No, I don’t think that you can do that because you have to stick by the facts and when I get calls from [former manager Sir] Alex Ferguson and [director] David Gill and [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward because you are creating something that is not good, that is not being the facts and now I have to answer the questions.

“I don’t think that I want to do it. I only say now I am focused on Stoke City, I help my players, I wish you a merry Christmas and maybe also a happy new year when I see you. Enjoy the wine and a mince pie. Goodbye.”

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