Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has been bombarded with questions regarding his future week after week and last Sunday’s press conference was no different. Manchester United have been linked with Jose Mourinho for quite some time now and the reports don’t seem to vanish even though Van Gaal has rubbished them. This week the reports did not just link Mourinho with the Manchester United job, some outlets even claimed that Mourinho has told: “close friends that he will get the Manchester United job”.
Louis Van Gaal was on the brink of the sack last month but a series of improved performances have given him some breathing space. However, Manchester United are still 6 points behind 4th placed Manchester City and if Van Gaal wants to have even 1% chance of being the United manager, he needs to make sure they qualify for the Champions League. This week provides him and his team the perfect opportunity to gain some lost ground as all their Champions League rivals are playing each other.
The Red Devils take on Sunderland in Saturday’s early kick-off and Manchester United just have to win this game. Sunday’s game against Chelsea ended in frustration for United when they let their lead slip in the dying minutes of the game and they will be looking to make amends.
Here’s what Louis Van Gaal had to say in his press conference:
Not great news for United on the injury front. Phil Jones, Guillermo Varela and Adnan Januzaj all picked up slight injuries in the Under-21s game.
“They’re not nasty injuries but I have to give them time to recover,” Van Gaal said.
“I cannot say Bastian is returning in two weeks,” he said. “I have given him a holiday. There is light at the end of the tunnel for Rojo and Valencia – they are coming back and I hope to have them as soon as possible.”
How’s the mood at United?
Van Gaal: “We are doing great in that perspective I think. We had lost four matches in a row in December and you see us now. You can only say that we are mentally very strong and that we can cope with the pressure. That is not enough as we have to improve our results and consistency to win a lot of matches in a row. We have to minimise the gap to our competitors.”
How many points would see United make the top 4
Van Gaal: “That is dependable on the competitors because at the end of the competition the pressure is rising for everybody. You have to be able to cope with that pressure and Manchester United is more or less used to that pressure.”
Can Manchester United close the gap with the top 4
“We don’t have to look to our competitors as you have to win your own matches first. This is why we were so much frustrated when we lost two points against Chelsea. First you have to win by yourself then you look at your competitors.”
Will he remain the manager even if Manchester United fail to qualify for the Champions League
“It’s not a question of me, it’s a question for the board of Manchester United, you have to put it to them. I have a contract for three years and you know that.”
On Memphis playing for the U21s.
“For him it was a very good match as it could raise his confidence and I have seen the reaction of the fans. These fans are the real fans, those who look to the second team, and they were very enthusiastic. He had three assists, but all his actions was very enthusiastic.”
Handling fixture congestion
Van Gaal: “When you play a lot of matches, which is what will happen in February and also in March, yes it makes it more difficult. I let the players into the second team and even in the second team you can be injured, that is our problem. We have coped with that for the whole season and it delivers youngsters out of youth, so it is a good policy because I am happy with Borthwick-Jackson and Lingard. They have had this chance because of this policy.”
Will Keane will be in the Manchester United squad
Van Gaal said: “He’s always training with us, with the first selection, and he’s scoring a lot of goals now. He is also in the squad tomorrow and I hope that he shall continue with scoring goals because that is very important for a striker.”
New contract for Carrick?
Van Gaal was in no mood to give anything away “I am always involved because I am the manager. I do not discuss this with you.”