Three Manchester United fixtures that will decide Louis van Gaal's future

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Safe to say the past two seasons have been far from what the Manchester United board would have expected and wanted after appointing Louis van Gaal as manager.

The Red Devils were abysmal in defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool last Thursday in the Europa League, with a Daniel Sturridge penalty and Roberto Firmino strike giving Jurgen Klopp's men the advantage going into the second leg.

A better - but still unconvincing - performance against West Ham on Sunday was enough to earn an FA Cup replay and keep their hopes of a semi-final alive, but even then they had to come from behind after a fantastic Dimitri Payet free-kick.


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Simply put, Van Gaal hasn't done enough to satisfy the fans - and the same can be said of the club's board.

However, with pressure forever building on the Dutchman to deliver, here are three games that could well decide his future at Old Trafford.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Europa League

There couldn't be a worse time for United to face Liverpool on the back of a 2-0 defeat given a number of the visitors' players have returned from injury recently - but they'll at least have home advantage.

Van Gaal will only hope that Anthony Martial can replicate his FA Cup heroics if they're to have any chance of progressing into the Europa League quarter-finals.

Perhaps most importantly, though, United need to show greater organisation and establish a sense of leadership on the pitch, which has been largely absent this season.

The Red Devils' best chance of Champions League football next campaign is via the Europa League, but should they fail to earn a spot it's difficult to see Van Gaal retaining his place in the managerial hot seat.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

There will have been very few - if any - bigger weeks than this one for Van Gaal during his time at the Theatre of Dreams.

Back-to-back fixtures against the club's two biggest rivals - Liverpool and City - suggest the next few days could well and truly determine the Dutchman's future.

Defeat to City would see them fall seven points behind and lose touch with the top four completely which, again, would prove detrimental to their Champions League hopes.

It's also worth noting that Southampton and Liverpool are three points behind United, so missing out on the Europa League too is a daunting possibility.

West Ham v Manchester United - FA Cup

And if Van Gaal wasn't feeling the strain already, a trip to east London looms to settle their FA Cup quarter-final tie.

The Boleyn Ground is by no means an easy place to visit, especially so given West Ham's form this season, and failure to claim victory would see any chance of silverware disappear entirely.

Lose to the Hammers after a probable exit from the Europa League and an unlikely top four spot will be all there is to play for. Oh, how times change.

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Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA Champions League
Premier League
Europa League
Louis van Gaal
Wayne Rooney
FA Cup

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