And it has emerged that the Dutchman offered to resign from his post in the wake of the Red Devils’ terrible performance against the Saints at Old Trafford, with fans booing off the United manager at the final whistle.
However, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward coaxed van Gaal into discussing the decision with his family before making it final, and the pair will hold further talks when the manager returns to first-team training at Carrington on Tuesday morning.
The backing of the fans has always been an important factor in van Gaal’s decision to remain as United manager, but the apparent mutiny in the stands at the Theatre of Dreams at the weekend forced the Dutchman’s hand.
From the report, it is understood that Woodward is reluctant to get rid of van Gaal, as he wants to avoid appointing a new manager in the middle of the season. He also wanted time to absorb the result and the Dutchman agreed to rethink his decision as he flew back to the Netherlands for his daughter’s birthday.
Van Gaal was on the verge of the sack during the festive period, as a Boxing Day defeat against Stoke made it five straight Premier League games without a win, coupled with a group stage exit from the Champions League.
However, an upsurge in form at the start of 2016 made it seem like he had turned the corner. But in truth, United were lucky to come away with all three points at Anfield the week before the Southampton defeat and the style of play has failed to improve despite encouraging signs in the first few weeks of the new year.
If van Gaal is pushed or walks away from the United job, assistant Ryan Giggs will most likely take charge on an interim basis, but the shadow of José Mourinho lurks over the hot seat at the Theatre of Dreams and it may well be the Special One that could be in charge over the next couple of weeks.