Van Gaal: I'm Running Out Of Ideas!

Louis van Gaal has admitted he is running out of ways to motivate his struggling Manchester United players as they prepare to host Chelsea at Old Trafford.

United have lost four straight competitive games, with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke City leaving Van Gaal in fear for his future and the first-team squad suffering an increased crisis of confidence ahead of the visit of Guus Hiddink’s men.

And the United manager concedes that after such a poor run of results it becomes difficult to find new ways to pick up his players mentally.

"It is not so easy anymore, and after you lose four matches in a row it is much more difficult after the third match," he told reporters. "It’s like that, and the pressure of the environment shall increase so it is much more difficult.

"So I know there are no artificial ways to solve that, we need a victory and that’s very important. But we have to do also our professional work, the preparation and of course also the recovery and the training sessions.

"But now we only can recover, we cannot train. We have to recover and then play the match against Chelsea."

United have now failed to win in their last seven fixtures and have collected only three victories in their last 14 matches, scoring just 11 goals in the process.

And the 64-year-old defended his under-fire squad, saying it is not unnatural for top players to find a string of losses tough to overcome.

"I don’t think so because I have seen that also in my other jobs. When you lose in a top team then it is always more difficult to cope with your environment and you cannot say that it is in Manchester much more different.

"You see, of course, that different players cope with that pressure in a different way and that is also true in other teams. It is for every individual player, for every human being, it is different in how they cope with it. And it is not so easy."

Jose Mourinho is being widely touted as the favourite to replace Van Gaal as United manager, and a fifth straight loss against the Portuguese’s former club on Monday could force a decision from the club’s board of directors before Saturday’s clash with Swansea.