Debutant Charlie Austin’s late goal earned Southampton a 1-0 victory at Manchester United on Saturday that put the pressure back on beaten manager Louis van Gaal. Austin joined Southampton for £4m from Queens Park Rangers last week and made a spectacular debut as a substitute at Old Trafford. The striker, a prolific scorer for QPR, Burnley and Swindon Town, had been on the pitch for only seven minutes when he powered home a header from James Ward-Prowse’s 87th-minute free-kick. His goal handed United a fifth defeat in 10 games, leaving them five points off the top four, and despite a five-match unbeaten run before this, Van Gaal’s side have won just three of their last 13 games.
That record, and the bland style of football that has contributed to it, is doing nothing for Van Gaal’s job security and while the Dutchman has been unhappy with speculation about his position, it will only intensify after this latest dismal defeat. United have failed to score at home in seven matches this season and their chances of finishing in the top four to secure Champions League football next season are diminishing fast.