That came on a cold Thursday night in Denmark where Danish minnows FC Midtjylland embarrassed the three-time European champions, winning 2-1. The score actually flatters United because if it was not for a series of brilliant saves by goalkeeper Sergio Romero, Midtjylland could have won by more.
It was a shocking display by United against a side that has not played a competitive game in two months because of their winter break.
But as the tide changed the the Danish minnows took control of the game in the second half, van Gaal sat routed to his seat, seemingly unable or unwilling to make a change to retake control of the game.
A stat afterwards shows that United have won just 9 of their last 27 games in all competitions. That is relegation form, not top four. At any other club in the world that sort of form gets you fired, but somehow van Gaal clings to his job.
After the game, van Gaal threw his players under the bus, blaming them for the defeat saying:
“It is the law of Murphy, I think! When you start a game and your goalkeeper is number 14 [on the injury list] then you are not starting like usual,” Van Gaal said.
“The first goal is deflected, it is unbelievable, it is too much. In the second half we don’t win any duels. Any second balls.
“Then you cannot afford a second goal. Jesse Lingard had two remarkable chances. In certain phases we were not very well organised.
“We have the chance to beat them at home and we have to do that.”
Up next for United is an away trip to Shrewsbury in the FA Cup on Monday. At this point, after consecutive defeats to Sunderland and Midtjylland this week, a United win would be seen as an upset.