Louis van Gaal: 'No magic' formula to improving Man Utd fortunes

'I have bad periods at all my clubs'

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says there is no magic formula to turning around the club's fortunes.

United have not won in eight games, including their past six in the Premier League, have dropped to sixth place, and are out of the Champions League.

On Saturday they face Swansea, a team Van Gaal has lost to in all three meetings since taking charge.

"There is no magic, it is looking at what has happened and what can improve, as a team and individually," he said.

"I have lost three times against Swansea, and then you have to evaluate why you lost. It is always like that, then you continue with the same vicious circle of working.

"You make a game plan to beat your opponent and then you have to convince your players. Then you have to train and then you have to be convinced. Then you can be committed and try to perform it."

Has the pressure eased on Van Gaal?

United drew 0-0 with Chelsea on Monday with a much-improved performance following a Boxing Day defeat at Stoke that had led to speculation the Dutchman would be sacked if they lost again.

Asked if the draw had eased the pressure on his position, Van Gaal said: "I don't know because pressure is also what you experience by yourself and also by the players.

"Most important are the players, of course, because they have to perform at a certain time. They have to give everything and that is the most difficult aspect. That is the players' function.

"You have to show it for 90 minutes against the resistance of the opponent and also under the pressure of the environment and the pressure you put yourself under. You have to cope with that."

Jonjo Shelvey celebrates Swansea's victory over Manchester United
United have lost all three meetings with Swansea under Van Gaal

United 'have the best fans'

United temporarily topped the Premier League on 21 November after beating Watford - their last victory - but are now nine points behind Arsenal and Leicester, and five points adrift of Tottenham in the fourth Champions League spot.

Van Gaal praised the response of the fans to their predicament, while acknowledging his team can ill afford any further setbacks.

"This is not the first club, maybe the last club, where I have a bad period," he noted. "I have had bad periods at all my clubs and I have to say the best fans are at Manchester United.

"In such a difficult period, they are applauding the performance of the players and that is fantastic. But still we need to win because we want to be at the top of the league, and not in the middle.

"We have to get points otherwise the gap is too big and that is why we have to do what we have to do. Work, do the things, prepare the game, perform and then evaluate the game again.

"That is, of course, much more difficult when you don't win than when you win."

December aside, 2015 'was a good year'

Asked to assess 2015, Van Gaal believes the last month aside, United can be pleased with their progress.

"I think we have fulfilled the wish and our aim in the first season," he added.

"After that we have managed to give balance to the team and that resulted in October/November when we were first.

"Then we are out of the Champions League and that gives us a big blow. When you don't assess December, it was a very good year, 2015. But you cannot do that because a year has 12 months."

Should Man Utd keep or sack Van Gaal?
"In the recent crisis, it is sometimes forgotten that Van Gaal deserves credit for stabilising United after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the ill-fated 10-month reign of David Moyes, guiding the club back into the Champions League - albeit briefly."
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