Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says rumours he offered to resign after last week’s Premier League defeat to Southampton are "awful and horrible".
The Dutchman is under pressure after a series of poor results and indifferent performances, especially at Old Trafford where his United side have failed to score in the first half of the previous 11 matches.
Van Gaal was booed at the final whistle of Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Ronald Koeman's Saints, and media reports suggested on Sunday that the 64-year-old offered his resignation to United chief executive Ed Woodward.
However, when asked if he had offered to quit, van Gaal told a press conference: "I don’t think that I have ever mentioned it.
"I think you make your own stories and then I have to answer about your stories, and I am not doing that because it is awful and horrible that you can write that and then I have to answer the questions of your story.
"I am very concerned people are believing what you are writing. I receive a lot of calls and SMSs, but it is this world that you can write what you want and you don’t have to verify anything.
"It is now the third time already that I have been sacked, and I am still sitting here for you."
Van Gaal confirmed that Matteo Darmian will miss United’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Derby County on Friday (which is LIVE on Setanta Ireland, kick off 19.55) but says that the Italian full-back's mouth injury is not serious.
Asked about United’s current injury situation, van Gaal said: "It’s more or less the same. Darmian is now out and maybe Michael Carrick shall come in [following a muscle rupture against Sheffield United on 9 January] but of course he’s not able to play 90 minutes.
"But it’s very good he is coming back. With Darmian, it is very positive actually. It’s not too severe but he’s not able to play against Derby.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger has missed three matches after suffering a knee injury during the second half of United's 1-0 win over Sheffield United, while Phil Jones has also not featured since the 2-1 victory over Swansea City at Old Trafford on 2 January.
"I cannot say [if they are close to a first-team return] because every time I make a remark about injuries it is always difficult because injuries have developments and you have to wait and see," he continued.
"Also they have to train and be adapted to the rhythm of the Premier League which is high. When you are more weeks injured it takes more time to adapt to that rhythm."