Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was in an optimistic mood as he spoke to the media ahead of United’s match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
United have secured 13 points in their first 10 games, their worst start to a season in the Premier League, but Van Gaal remains confident of long-term success.
“I feel for the fans and also the board because they have belief in me, my staff, and my players. 13 points from 10 matches, you are not doing well, but we are in a process. As I have said from the beginning, even when we won five games in the US, the process shall take more than one year. It shall take three years, I hope, though that is dependent on lots of things. But I think we will make it happen, that we will win a lot of matches.”
“I have the experience that people have great belief in what we are doing now, in the way we are playing football. When I am in the streets I am surrounded by very positive things, and when I’m in a car from United, there are lots of positive people. I’m feeling lousy for everyone that we have 13 points from 10 games. When I want to select the same line-up, I cannot. It’s the same every week.”
Defensive issues have seen United leak goals at an alarming rate, but Van Gaal refused to blame the defense. And when seen from his eyes, it is a fair assessment. United have not been able to field an unchanged backline for consecutive matches.
“I don’t agree with your opinion of the defence (that United should be concerned). If you don’t count the five goals at Leicester, we have better than Chelsea I believe. That’s not the problem, the balance is. That is why I have remodelled the structure of my team. Now I have to solve the problems of the injuries every week, that’s another story.”
With injuries mounting up every week, Van Gaal agreed he had a headache in terms of selection, but refused to divulge details about the team that would face Palace on Saturday.
“Smalling is suspended, Evans and Jones are still injured, so I have to solve a problem. I don’t want to say who is playing yet. If I say that (what United have done in training) then I give away what I’m trying to do. We’ve trained today but I may do things differently.”
Marcos Rojo remains a long-term injury concern after dislocating his shoulder against City, and the news is no better for Falcao, who is also out with an injury suffered in training. With Robin van Persie in poor form and Wayne Rooney just returning from a three-match suspension, Falcao’s return can’t come soon enough for Van Gaal.
“Marcos dislocated his shoulder but did it in positive way. We don’t need to operate on him, which is a relief, but maybe with this injury it is very difficult that it shall not happen again. That is the problem. Yesterday evening, he saw a specialist. For him, it was positive. Always with these injuries, I cannot change that. The human body has been made by God, not by me. Conservatively, it can be less than six weeks. If we have to operate, 12 weeks.”