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The Dutchman has responded to criticism following his side's defeat to Swansea City last Saturday and insists fans must believe the club can progress this season

Louis van Gaal has hit out at criticism following Manchester United’s opening defeat to Swansea City and maintains the club are set for a “difficult three months”.

Following an encouraging pre-season campaign in which United won all but one of their matches inside 90 minutes, Van Gaal’s men slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in their Premier League opener last Saturday.

United’s display has prompted Paul Scholes to admit he is “scared” for the future of the club but Van Gaal insists the club can progress under his stewardship.

"Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester and now I am the devil of Manchester,” said the 63-year-old.

“It's the football world and it is especially the media in this football world. I think the fans of Manchester are intelligent.

“I’ve already said in all the press conferences that it shall be difficult in the first three months, for the players and also for the fans.

"I can imagine the fans are scared. They saw last year and the first home match. They have to believe. Paul Scholes has to believe."

Van Gaal has held talks with Danny Welbeck over the forward’s future at Old Trafford but the Dutchman is adamant that reports suggesting the England international is surplus to requirements are inaccurate.

“I know what I have said to Danny and Danny knows exactly what I said to him,” said the United manager.

“I think the media is guessing because they were not in the room when I said that. I don’t speak about that. That is private.

“I assume Danny is not saying about our conversation. In the conversation was also Ryan Giggs and he doesn’t say anything either. I think that is the way it should be. I am happy it is this way.”

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