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Upbeat Van Gaal denies 'resignation'

28 January 2016, 19:50

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal thanked executive vice chairman Ed Woodward for his support on Thursday as he denied reports he had offered to resign.

Van Gaal has faced a trying week following the home defeat by Southampton which saw the Old Trafford crowd turn on the veteran Dutch manager.

But Woodward has been steadfast in his support of van Gaal, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, and appears determined to keep him in place until at least the end of the season.

Reports suggested van Gaal had even offered to resign following the Southampton setback and that Jose Mourinho had been increasingly put forward as a potential replacement should United decide to make a change.

But van Gaal's position appears safe for the time being, although he conceded that the unwavering support of Woodward and the board bring with it a greater level of pressure.

"It is fantastic of course, but that also gives you a lot of pressure," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"When the board has such confidence, the pressure is much higher than when they say it is your last game or something like that," said van Gaal, speaking ahead of Friday's FA Cup fourth-round tie away to second-tier Derby County.

"When your confidence is not so high, you can fight against it. When you can fight, you have bigger motivation than when they support you.

"But I am always fighting."

Van Gaal's fighting spirit has certainly been tested to the full of late.

United have fallen well out of title contention and now look to be struggling even to secure a top four finish and, with it, an all-important place in the Champions League.

But van Gaal insisted that, contrary to reports, he had never offered to resign.

"I have not mentioned that, ever," he said. "This is the third time that I have been 'sacked' and I am still sitting here for you. I have always faced this (scrutiny)."

Van Gaal also appeared far more upbeat, and defiant, than had been the case following the Southampton defeat when he apologised to United supporters.

"It is always like that when you lose a game, certainly in the last minute, that you are fed up," he said.

"How we have played is not always the main issue because you can play badly and win. When that happens, you are not so fed up.

"But we have played very well and lost, like Chelsea away last season, so when that happens you are more fed up than ever.

"It is your duty as a manager and a player to stand up again and do what you do because that is a professional attitude," he insisted.

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