Louis van Gaal said today he could “quit by myself” as Stoke City condemned Manchester United to a fourth straight defeat.
The Dutchman, under pressure after seven games without a win, was asked whether he feared he would be sacked.
Bojan Krkic broke the deadlock after a poor header back to David de Gea from Memphis Depay allowed Glen Johnson to play it back to the Spanish forward.
Stoke went 2-0 ahead through Marko Arnautovic’s 25-yard finish after Bojan’s free-kick had hit the wall.
Van Gaal dropped captain Wayne Rooney, who came on as a half-time substitute, and United struggled to create chances.
Stoke were superior throughout and could have won by more. Arnautovic missed a great chance to add to United’s misery when clean through, while Potters keeper Jack Butland denied Marouane Fellaini, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata.
“That is something I discuss with [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward not you,” Van Gaal told a media conference after the game.
“It is not always the club that has to fire or sack me.”
He added: “Sometimes I do that by myself, but I am the one who wants to speak first with the board of Manchester United and my members of staff and my players, not with you.”
United’s miserable run has seen them knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage and slip out of the top four in the Premier League.
“I have received [the club’s backing] all the time but we have lost so there is a new situation,” said Van Gaal.
“I feel the support of my players and my board. The fans will be disappointed but that is logical after four defeats.”
Van Gaal does not think it is important that Woodward has not publicly backed him.
“For me it’s much more important that people are saying that to me,” he said. “I am not so interested in public sayings.”
Van Gaal saw his side quickly go behind to goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic, with United struggling to create chances as they tried to work their way back into the match in the second half.
“We have lost the game in the first 45 minutes because we didn’t dare to play our football. That is what I have analysed,” said Van Gaal, whose side’s next game is at home to Chelsea on Monday.
“The circumstances now play a bigger role and will in the next game also. We have to cope with that and look for the solution.
“It is very difficult as I’m also part of four losses and I have to cope with that and I have to manage that. More important is that my players shall manage that because they have to perform.”
Van Gaal dropped Wayne Rooney to the bench for the game at the Britannia Stadium.
The England striker came on for the second half but United still struggled to create chances as they went four top-flight games without victory.
Club captain Rooney has scored just two league goals so far this season and rarely looked like adding to that tally at Stoke, although he did set up Marouane Fellaini for a chance that was impressively saved by home keeper Jack Butland.
Van Gaal added: “I thought it was the right decision [to leave out Rooney] otherwise I would not have done it.
“We were better in the second half but then we didn’t have anything to lose.”