Louis van Gaal is under no illusions that Old Trafford may become a hostile place for him once again on Tuesday if Manchester United put in another poor performance.
The 1-0 loss to Southampton was followed by a chorus of boos and jeers from an Old Trafford crowd who had lost patience with the atrocious football Man United have been playing this season.
A confident win over Derby saw over 5,000 travelling reds go barmy in the away end but heading back to Old Trafford, van Gaal isn’t afraid of any potential backlash after the performance.
“I’m not a stupid man. I’m an intelligent man and I cannot predict the atmosphere,” van Gaal said.
“I hope that we can give the same level of performance as Friday, but we have to play Stoke City. It’s another opponent.
“But it’s not so important that they yell at me. It’s more that they are supporting the players because that’s the most important thing. The players have the most difficult task.
“They have to give a result at that hour, with that resistance, and there are no excuses. They have to support the fans.
“When I am not so popular anymore, okay. It’s also not the first time that that happens with me. But I can survive.”
Fans will never stop supporting the team and the players. Even under David Moyes at the worst of times, United fans got behind the team. That won’t ever change. On the other hand, support for van Gaal is wavering massively already.
The Dutchman saying unpopular opinion towards him isn’t anything new doesn’t come as too much of a surprise because his abrasive nature and style saw him leave Bayern Munich and Barcelona relatively quickly. It looks like the same thing is happening at United.
When the full-time whistle blows on Tuesday night, van Gaal will want to be on the receiving end of cheers rather than jeers but can United deliver and build on the momentum gained from Derby? We’ll find out soon enough.