Dec 22, 2015

    Man U players close ranks behind van Gaal


    THE mood in the Manchester United dressing room under manager Louis van Gaal is not as bad as it was during the "glum" days of David Moyes' tenure, defender Phil Jones said after Saturday's 1-2 Premier League loss to Norwich City.

    A six-game winless streak in all competitions saw United bow out of the Champions League in the group stages and out of the top four in the Premier League, nine points behind surprise leaders Leicester City after 17 games.

    "I wouldn't say it's the lowest moment. I think it became pretty glum, if you like, under David Moyes and it was unfortunate. We weren't playing well at the time," Jones told British media.

    "There's no point saying we've played some good football this season because ultimately we've lost three games in a row - but we have in patches. We need to stick together, there's nothing else you can do."

    The England international became the latest United player to speak about the atmosphere at the club, after goalkeeper David de Gea dismissed reports of dressing room unrest.

    Van Gaal, bookmaker William Hill's favourite in the sack race, has two games to save his job, said the Guardian newspaper.

    United, who are fifth in the table, travel to 11th-placed Stoke City on Saturday. They play champions Chelsea - who sacked Jose Mourinho last Thursday - two days later.

    The manager has come under heavy criticism for his over-emphasis on possession, but Jones believes the Dutchman is the right man to turn around the club's fortunes.

    "The manager is doing all he can and is doing a terrific job. It's not even questionable in the dressing room. The lads are absolutely fully focused on performing well for the manager, the fans, ourselves week in, week out," Jones said.

    "The players in there aren't hiding behind anyone. We know full well we have to take responsibility. There's no other way. The manager picks the team and the team have got to go out and do their best."