Van Gaal deserves much of the flak he has received. The dithering of the club is worth a hurricane of withering scorn.
It is reported they have an agreement in principle with Mourinho, but are waiting to see how the season ends amid concern about his combustible nature.
Will the minor miracle of fourth place be enough to retain faith in Van Gaal for the final year of his contract? Will triumph in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace constitute success?
Van Gaal prevaricated on this, saying: “I think success is in the eyes of the man or woman who are seeing that. It is different for everybody.
“When we qualify ourselves or win a trophy, I am satisfied. But in the eyes of some fans, or many fans, that’s not enough because you have to win the title. I have the impression that I am still here (next season) otherwise I couldn’t say all the things I have said. But in the football world you never know.”
The worry for Manchester United is that nobody seems to know what to do and where to find answers, a stark contrast to the strength of decision- making at Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.
It is a curious and bitter irony that success on the field today, sneaking past City into fourth place, might only intensify the troubles and the torment of Old Trafford.