Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s clash with Arsenal, with former United academy player Danny Welbeck set to make his first appearance against his former club.
Welbeck left for Arsenal in the summer transfer window after failing to land a first-team place ahead of the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but Van Gaal insists the departure was not acrimonious and that he has the player’s best interests at heart despite the transfer.
“A player (Welbeck) who plays in a fixed position in a team develops better. So he takes all the benefit that he plays every week. That was a question mark with Manchester United. So it’s very good to see him doing what I thought.
When quizzed whether Welbeck will have an extra motivation to perform against his former club, Van Gaal was quick to remind the press of the same situation with one of his players, Robin Van Persie.
“[Van Persie] was an Arsenal player – it’s the football world. He has scored also three times, I have heard – I didn’t know that – already against Arsenal as a Manchester United player. That’s life, believe me.”
Van Gaal also took the opportunity to hail Wayne Rooney’s accomplishment of notching of 100 caps for England over the weekend. Rooney scored against Scotland in his 100th appearance, and Van Gaal praised the Manchester United captain’s colossal achievements.
“Rooney is the youngest player with 100 caps, it’s fantastic. His sons are standing there, proud, and the father is proud too. I have congratulated him but he now has to score for United.”
Van Gaal also shed light on the rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal, terming it as “normal in sport”.
“It’s the first time I’ve sat on the bench against Arsenal as Manchester United coach.
“I’ve only played once against Arsenal with Barcelona. Wenger was on the bench and was already eight years [into the job] with Arsenal.
“I admire the way they play because it’s attacking and you play for the fans. I think that’s nice. About the rivalry, it’s normal in sport.”
Van Gaal confirmed Daley Blind will be out for a long time, but not as long as was initially feared.
“It’s not as bad as the doctors thought after the match. It shall be a long story – but not six months or something.”
The injury to Daley Blind is a hammer-blow for Van Gaal, as the Dutchman had settled in quite nicely in his position as the metronomic midfielder who keeps things ticking over. With Michael Carrick also a doubt for the Arsenal clash, it will be interesting to see who starts in midfield for the Red Devils.
Angel Di Maria and David De Gea have been declared fit for the match despite injury concerns, so that’s a relief for fans.
Saturday will see yet another encounter between Manchester United and Arsenal. Here’s why we believe Manchester United will win the match.