Louis van Gaal has warned his Manchester United stars they are all playing for their Old Trafford futures after insisting he is not afraid to continue his major overhaul of the first-team squad in the summer.
The Dutch coach's comments come ahead of today's crucial Premier League clash against West Ham United at Upton Park, where the Red Devils will be looking to secure all three points to regain third place in the table after Southampton's late victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday.
With local rivals Manchester City also dropping points following a 1-1 draw with Hull City at the Etihad Stadium, Van Gaal's side can close the gap between themselves and Manuel Pellegrini's men to three points with victory on Sunday.
In the build-up to the forthcoming match in east London, Van Gaal issued a rallying call to his players, which was also laced with a threat that failure to perform could have serious repercussions moving forward.
“I think all of them are playing for their future and all of them are aware of that," he was quoted saying by the Sunday Mirror. "They know they have to perform. Not just in the matches, but also on the training pitch.
“It always has to be 100 per cent. Maybe a lot of players were not aware of that - but now they know. It is not easy for me [to make tough decisions] because I know that most of my players are trying to do their utmost best.
“When you see that as a manager, then it is very hard to say to someone ‘you have to go’.”
Van Gaal's threat could ultimately make or break Manchester United's season, particularly if players that are already feeling the pressure are affected by their manager's ultimatum.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the senior stars respond, starting with the imminent tie against the Hammers.
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