Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has insisted that there is no truth behind the speculation that the players aren’t playing for Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman has come under intense pressure in recent weeks as his side fell to four consecutive defeats in all competitions prior to their draw with Chelsea on Monday.
While that performance and result may have saved Van Gaal from the sack for the time being given United played with much more attacking intent and arguably deserved to win, Smalling is adamant that the entire squad is playing for themselves and their boss.
“To say we’re not playing for the manager is silly,” Smalling said, as reported by Sky Sports. “If anything we are all playing for our own futures as well, so there’s not a case of no one not playing for the manager.
“No matter what, whether it is good or bad, this club is always in the spotlight, and we’ve rolled our sleeves up, worked hard on the training field and had to make sure that we re-grouped, especially after that loss against Stoke, so against Chelsea we stood up and showed that we were the better team, albeit we didn’t get the win.”
Smalling went on to add that Van Gaal’s approach and demeanour hasn’t changed since the first day he arrived at Old Trafford, despite the fact that the Ajax boss has cut a dejected figure in recent days, particularly following the Boxing Day loss to Stoke City.
The England international conceded that the club needs a win sooner rather than later in order to get out of their current slump, but believes that the performance against Chelsea will give the players a boost in confidence knowing that they can dominate a game.
United host Swansea City at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, as they now hope to close the five-point gap that has opened up to fourth place.