Louis van Gaal has claimed it is not his fault that Manchester United are wilting under the pressure of their winless run.
United fell to a 2-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday, Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic on target to condemn Van Gaal's men to a fourth straight defeat.
It is now also seven games without a win in all competitions for United, who are nine points off the top of the Premier League table.
Van Gaal is under intense pressure amid widespread speculation over his future and intimated he could resign following the defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
However, he refused to take the blame for his players' struggles when the heat is on, saying: "Of course I do my utmost to find solutions to cope with the pressure.
"But, at the end, the players have to do that by themselves."
Van Gaal's decision to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench did not pay off, with Stoke dictating play in the first half while United laboured to try to create chances.
Rooney was brought on at half-time and asked about the move to drop his captain, Van Gaal added: "It is always a difficult decision to put your captain out of the team.
"[He reacted] like a very good professional and I have already told a lot of press conferences that he has a big job on the pitch and off the pitch."