Louis van Gaal
Manchester United’s hopes of Europa League success hang in the balance following their first-leg loss to FC Midtjylland Getty

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has resorted to one-on-one meetings with his players to arrest the slide the Red Devils are currently on, following their loss to FC Midtjylland in the first-leg of the Europa League last 32 clash. The Old Trafford club are currently facing the prospect of failing to finish in the top four in the Premier League and are fate hangs in the balance in the second tier European competition, which is their best option of qualifying for the Champions League next season, after losing the first-leg 2-1 in Denmark.

According to the Daily Mail, the former Bayern Munich manager spoke to every player individually at the training ground to ascertain the reason for their lackluster performance that enraged fans. The Danish side dominated the second-half and came away with a win, which will give them a big advantage in the second-leg at Old Trafford on 25 February.

The manager's reaction after the midweek game seemed to have the desired effect when United beat Shrewsbury Town 3-0 on 22 February to book a place in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. The main test, however, will come when they face Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford. The Gunners, who are battling for the title alongside Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, will provide a true test to Van Gaal's team on 28 February.

The 20-time English champions are facing a major injury crisis at the moment and the Dutch manager has not been able to play the same XI on a consistent basis, while blaming the fixture congestion for the number of knocks, which he believes have played a role in stunting their progress this season. Van Gaal's future at the club has also come into question, with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho tipped to take over in the summer, despite the current manager having another year left on his contract.