Louis van Gaal has challenged his Manchester United players to play “our football” against Chelsea on Monday as he fights to save his job.
Following the 2-0 defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day, United have lost four consecutive games in all competitions and have not won in seven, and Van Gaal suggested after the game that he could quit.
Monday’s meeting with Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea could prove decisive and the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said he wants to see bravery from his players as they look to return to winning ways.
“You can say we can quickly get over this defeat by playing against Chelsea but, in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything,” he told MUTV.
“Then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the Chelsea game, and that you dare to play football — our football! It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try.”
Michael Carrick said victory against Chelsea could have a huge impact on United, who are currently sixth in the table, nine points behind leaders Leicester but just three behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
“Football can change quickly,” Carrick told MUTV. “At the moment it is tough to take and it is going to hurt for a couple of days.
“So we have to get our heads right for Monday. It can turn around quickly and if we get a good win then the feeling comes back. Hopefully we will be able to kick on from that.”