MANCHESTER - Louis van Gaal conceded his Manchester United flops are lacking in confidence after slamming their performance in a shock 2-1 defeat by Norwich.
His men have gone six matches without a win after Norwich secured their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.
Strikes either side of half-time from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey gave the visitors a two-goal lead on Saturday and Anthony Martial's reply for United could not spark a revival from the lacklustre hosts.
Van Gaal has come in for increasing criticism from fans and former players over the cautious style of his team's play and United were once again booed by the disgruntled home crowd.
The manager, in particular, was assailed with boos from the home supporters at the final whistle, having earlier been taunted with chants of "Jose Mourinho, he's taking your job" from the away end.
Their poor run has seen them eliminated from the Champions League and drop out of the Premier League's top four. United are now nine points adrift of leaders Leicester, in fifth place.
Already feeling the heat over the dire quality of his side's football, van Gaal has now presided over six games without a win in all competitions.
"I've encountered these circumstances also with other teams and other staff," he insisted. "The main thing is that you have to be professional and do the things that you have to do and work very hard to come out of this bad period."
His critics will hardly be reassured by his admission that confidence is low in a United team that managed just two shots on target against opponents who began the day in the relegation zone.
"What you have seen today is what lack of confidence can do. It was not good enough," the manager said.
"This is our first defeat of the season at Old Trafford. It's confirmation that we are in a very bad period and we have to come out of it.
"That is difficult because otherwise we would have done it today. You have to win against Norwich. You have to win every home game.
"The problem is how we come out of this bad period. That can be done when you stick together, not only the players, the manager and his staff but also the fans, because that is very important.
"Every word that I say about the defeat is one word too much because the expectation is that we should win against Norwich and we didn't do that."
Asked if he believes he will be given time to correct United's course, van Gaal said: "It's not up to me to say about that question but we shall see."
With questions being asked about his chances of remaining in the job beyond this season, particularly with Mourinho - sacked by Chelsea on Thursday - the Dutchman added that he and his staff would carry out an intense analysis of the Norwich defeat in an effort to improve in their next two fixtures - at Stoke on Boxing Day and at home to Chelsea on Dec 28.
"We have to evaluate what we have done today and how we have prepared this match and tomorrow we shall evaluate what we have done as a staff and a team in order to make things better against Stoke City," he said.
"Then two days after that, we have to play against Chelsea, so we have to show our professional attitude to improve and regain our confidence."