Louis van Gaal has admitted that he is struggling to motivate players at Manchester United after a string of poor performances in recent fixtures. The Red Devils have lost four consecutive matches and dropped out of the top four following their defeat to Norwich City on 19 December.

The 20-time English champions have won only four of their last 14 matches played in all competitions. And in the process, they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup and the Champions League, which has forced them to settle for the Europa League.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has claimed that it is difficult to recover after a string of poor performances. Asked if he remained the right man to motivate the stars at Old Trafford, Van Gaal said: "It is not so easy anymore, and after you lose four matches in a row it is much more difficult after the third match."

"It's like that, and the pressure of the environment shall increase so it is much more difficult. So I know there are no artificial ways to solve that, we need a victory and that's very important.

"But we have to do also our professional work, the preparation and of course also the recovery and the training sessions. But now we only can recover, we cannot train. We have to recover and then play the match against Chelsea," the Dutchman said.

United face Chelsea in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford on 28 December. Both teams are struggling in the league and the west London club have already shown the exit door to Jose Mourinho and replaced the Portuguese tactician with Guus Hididnk, who will be the first-team interim manager until the end of the season.

Van Gaal's future at United is under threat and former Red Devils goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has asked the club's board to sack the Dutchman. He believes the 64-year-old manager is no longer the right candidate to take the club forward after a string of defeats in recent times.

"If one keeps losing continuously, it sometimes leaves the board with no choice," Bosnich told talksport.

"I watched his body language very closely on Saturday and he just looked like a defeated man. The fact that he actually said he might come out and resign told its own story in itself," the former goalkeeper added.