It looks like Jose Mourinho will not have to wait too long, after all, to get back into management, with the former Chelsea manager the favourite to take over from Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United.

The pressure on Van Gaal increased considerably after Manchester United slumped to a home defeat to Norwich City in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Despite dominating possession – Van Gaal's obsession – again, Manchester United were insipid going forward, while Norwich took advantage of a couple of counter-attacks to consign the home team to their fourth defeat of the season.

Van Gaal's defence for playing dour football was the fact that his team were getting results, but after crashing out of the Champions League and dropping out of the top four of the Premier League, that defence is wearing thin, while the same can be said about the patience of the Manchester United hierarchy as well.

According to a report in The Guardian, Van Gaal has two games to save his Manchester United career – the Mirror claims the Dutchman only has one. United play Stoke and Chelsea in the festive period, and if Van Gaal cannot stave off defeats, at the very least, in those two matches, the big chop will come.

And if that chop comes, Mourinho is the favourite to take over, with the Portuguese more than happy to return to management at Manchester United. Mourinho favoured the job at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson retired, but the Scot, despite his friendship with the former Real Madrid manager, decided to go with David Moyes.

Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, directors at the club, are not big fans of a manager of Mourinho's style taking over at Manchester United, but a report in The Sun claims the club have already held talks with Mourinho about taking over from Van Gaal.

Ed Woodward is the one who makes the decisions nowadays at Manchester United, and if the club's executive vice chairman deems it time to end the Van Gaal experiment, Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea last week, could just walk in and immediately find himself in title contention again.

Manchester United are also looking at the possibility of tempting Pep Guardiola to Old Trafford, even if the Spaniard has been tipped to replace Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City.

If Woodward succeeds in convincing Guardiola, who will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, to join Manchester United, though, Ryan Giggs could take over the interim reigns again, if, as expected, Van Gaal is let go.