Van Gaal back under scrutiny as Swansea visits Man United

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January 02, 2016
Louis van Gaal

Van Gaal back under scrutiny as Swansea visits Man United

MANCHESTER, AP:

IT speaks volumes about Manchester United's current plight that a 0-0 draw at home against a team languishing just above the Premier Lea gue's relegation zone represents an encouraging sign of progress.

That's how far a mighty club has fallen, with the stalemate with Chelsea on Monday appearing to give some breathing space for United's under-pressure manager Louis van Gaal.

Lose to manager-less and relegation-threatened Swansea at Old Trafford today though, and United will put Van Gaal even closer to the brink.

The record 20-time English champions are winless in their last eight games in all competitions, marking their worst run of form since 1990, and have collected only three points from their last six league games. Almost as worrying for United is that the team has scored only one goal in its last four home games.

Van Gaal may say he enjoys the backing of the United board, and has backtracked on previous comments that he could quit as manager, but there might be no way back if Swansea leaves Old Trafford with three points.

five points

Put simply, 2016 has to start better than 2015 ended for the Dutchman.

"If anything, we are all playing for our own futures as well," United defender Chris Smalling said, with the team having fallen five points adrift of the Champions League places.

On paper, Swansea looks the ideal opponent for United to get back to winning ways: No manager following Garry Monk's firing on Dec. 9, one place above the bottom three, only one away win against last-place Aston Villa this campaign. Yet the Welsh club has won its last three games against United, all 2-1, including a home-and-away league double last season.

What Van Gaal must ensure is that United plays the same way as against Chelsea, when his players were more positive, took more risks with their passing and looked to play more forward. United's fans could see the team was trying and seemed to warm to Van Gaal and his players. But how long will the goodwill last?

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