Louis van Gaal hinted that he could vacate the Old Trafford hot seat after watching Stoke City swat aside his timid Manchester United team 2-0 in the Premier League.
Goals from Stoke forwards Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic punished United for a dreadful start at a blustery Britannia Stadium and although the visitors improved in the second half they could not repair the damage.
Dutchman Van Gaal has now overseen a seven-match winless run in which United have been eliminated from the Champions League and fallen out of the Premier League's top four after successive defeats by Bournemouth, Norwich City and Stoke.
Having criticised the media and stormed angrily out of his pre-match news conference on Wednesday, there was an air of resignation about Van Gaal's comments after the loss -- United's fourth in a row in all competitions.
"The club doesn't have to fire or sack me -- sometimes I do it by myself," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager told reporters.
Minutes earlier, he had been asked if he still thought he was the man to turn around United's season and whether he had the support of United's hierarchy.
"It's more difficult because I'm also part of the four matches we have lost and so people are looking at me," Van Gaal told Sky Sports.
"It's another situation, we have lost the fourth game, we will have to wait and see," he added with a lingering glare towards the reporter.
United, down to sixth in the Premier League, face struggling champions Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday and few would be surprised if Van Gaal was no longer in charge.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes had spoken this week of his days as a marauding United striker under Alex Ferguson when the side approached every game expecting to win it and he would have been surprised by his side's early dominance.
The 20-times English champions have traditionally been associated with swashbuckling attacking football, but apart from a brief flurry after the break when Van Gaal brought his captain Wayne Rooney off the bench, they were woefully short of belief or leadership.
Van Gaal looked powerless as he clutched his notes while sitting uneasily on the bench next to assistant Ryan Giggs.
The biggest indictment of the malaise afflicting England's biggest club was Van Gaal's belief that his expensively-assembled team "did not dare to play football in the first half."
Stoke's opener after 19 minutes summed up a truly awful first half for United.
Attempting to knock a bouncing ball back to his goalkeeper David de Gea with a diving header, Memphis Depay only succeeded in gifting the ball to Stoke right back Glen Johnson who crossed for Bojan to stab home.
It got even worse for United when Bojan's free kick was blocked and with no defender closing down Arnautovic he thundered a shot past De Gea.
England striker Rooney spiced up United's attack after the break but Marouane Fellaini wasted their best chance when he shot straight at Stoke keeper Jack Butland from close range.
At the final whistle Van Gaal gave a brief wave to United's travelling fans. The next few days will reveal whether it was his parting gesture.