Van Gaal urges fans to get behind Man U

Manchester, Jan 31 (IANS) Louis van Gaal has not exactly been a favourite of Manchester United fans, but the veteran manager insists that he will not mind copping the boos if the crowd supports the players as they struggle to climb up the English Premier League (EPL) ladder.

Van Gaal has faced severe criticism as Manchester United has struggled to capture their best form this season. The former European champions are currently fifth on the table — five points off a Champion League spot — with 37 points from 10 wins and seven draws in their 23 matches. Manchester United’s playing style has also been panned by former players and fans, with van Gaal facing most of the flak.

A 0-1 loss to Southampton FC in their previous EPL match has not helped matters. They will next host Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday and van Gaal urged the Manchester United fans to get behind the team as they seek to turn around a disappointing season.

“I’m not a stupid man. I’m an intelligent man and I cannot predict the atmosphere on Tuesday. I hope that we can give the same level of performance as against Derby but we have to play Stoke, another opponent. I’m always honest. That wasn’t an exception (the reaction during the Southampton game] but OK.

“It’s not important that they yell at me. It’s more that they are supporting the players, that’s the most important thing. The players have the most difficult task. They have to give a result at that hour with that resistance (of Stoke). There are no excuses. They have to support — the fans,” van Gaal was quoted as saying by the English media on Saturday.

“When I’m not so popular, then OK. It’s also not the first time that it’s happened with me but I can survive. They supported us fantastically against Derby. I have heard more the fans of United than of Derby. We are the away team. It’s also fantastic that there is such a big part coming to see ‘boring’ Manchester United,,” he added.

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