BOURNEMOUTH, December 13- Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal invoked the belief of the club’s players and supporters after their season took another downward turn with a 2-1 loss at Bournemouth.
Former United trainee Josh King scored a 54th-minute winner to prevent United from bouncing back from their mid-week Champions League exit at Wolfsburg and keep them three points off the pace in the Premier League.
A return of three wins from 12 games in all competitions, coupled with some turgid football, has seen Van Gaal come in for heavy criticism from fans and pundits, but he said his shoulders were broad enough to deal with it.
“It is always like that. It is not new. It is a matter of belief,” the Dutchman told Sky Sports at Dean Court.
“Believe in the manager or not. That is the most important thing. Last year the fans all showed their belief and that is the most important thing.
“But for me the most important thing is the commitment of my players to perform as we have agreed and I can only tell you they want to do that.”
Asked if he believed that he was capable of revitalising United’s season, Van Gaal replied: “I’m having always that confidence. When the players want to perform in this way, I have always confidence.”
United fell behind after precisely 100 seconds when Junior Stanislas’s wind-assisted corner from the left deceived visiting goalkeeper David de Gea and curled straight into the net.
Marouane Fellaini equalised in the 24th minute, but King exploited inattentive defending at a corner to tuck away what proved to be the decisive goal.
It was Bournemouth’s second successive impressive win, following last weekend’s 1-0 success at Chelsea, and sent them up to 14th place in the table.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe expressed admiration for midfielder Harry Arter, who played for 86 minutes just days after his partner lost a child at birth earlier this week.
“For us it’s been a brilliant week, but the preparation for this game was difficult with the news of Harry Arter and his family,” Howe said.
“I want to pay tribute to how courageous he was. I thought he was magnificent.”
King, who spent four years on United’s books as a youngster, said that his winning goal — an assured finish from Matt Ritchie’s drilled corner — was the fruit of hours of work on the training ground.
“To get a goal against my old club means a lot,” said the Norway international. “It’s the first time I’ve scored from that drill. We practise it all the time and it went in today.”