Louis van Gaal appeared to weather the brunt of the storm following Jose Mourinho's dismissal from Chelsea last month. The Manchester United manager had been widely tipped to make way for Mourinho's arrival, but much of that speculation has since passed over.
A decent performance in a 0-0 draw against the Blues helped to affirm his position while wins over Swansea City and Sheffield United hinted at reform. To cap it all off, an enthralling 3-3 draw against Newcastle United proved that the current team have all the ingredients to bake some tasty success.
But while fans were hailing the return of Wayne Rooney, Manchester United's men that matter – the Ed Woodward's and [Enter Name] Glazer's of this world – have actually moved closer to pulling the trigger of Van Gaal's reign.
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According to The Times, there is a growing fear from those mentioned above that the Red Devils will be cut adrift from the top four, thus missing out on Champions League football for the second time in three years.
Such a failure would be unacceptable to the sponsors that have invested so much money in the club. One Adidas executive has already openly criticised the club and their absence from Europe's elite competition certainly will not help relations. Not to forget, it could also cost them around £60m in revenue.
As a result, Woodward is ready to take action at the first sign of Manchester United being cut adrift from the top four. At the moment, they are just two points off of fourth-placed Tottenham, but after failing to beat relegation candidates Newcastle, there was the potential for that gap to grow last night.
Even a loss against Liverpool, who United face at Anfield this Sunday, could serve to cut them away from the promise positions. Van Gaal is unlikely to be sacked regardless of the result against Jurgen Klopp's men, but it could set in motion the process of replacing him.
Of course, Mourinho is still sitting by his phone, waiting for what seems like the inevitable. By the look of it, he might not be waiting too much longer.
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