Speaking in the pre-match Press Conference, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has claimed that he intends to make Old Trafford a fortress while believing that Radamel Falcao is in great form ahead of the game against Newcastle United. The Dutchman also thanked Sir Alex Ferguson for backing him while believing that it only adds to the pressure to win at Manchester United.

Speaking about Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments backing Van Gaal as the Boss at United, the Dutchman has thanked the former manager while claiming that such praise only adds to the pressure.

“It’s fantastic (Ferguson’s comments). When you come to Manchester United because I know Sir Alex supports you and when he is supporting you he is doing that not only this week but in other (press) conferences he gives.”

“He showed a lot of confidence and belief in me that I need as manager of Manchester United. You need that belief and support of managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, but also from Sir Bobby Charlton and (former United chief executive) David Gill. They have the belief and I’m very happy with that because then you can work more easily.”

“But it’s also pressure because he believes in you, and gives you that pressure that you have to get results. It’s not so easy to win Premier League matches.”

Van Gaal has praised 'versatile' Wayne Rooney

Van Gaal has praised ‘versatile’ Wayne Rooney

The United manager also spoke about Wayne Rooney and claims that he will continue to make use of Rooney’s versatility on the football pitch.

“Wayne is a player who can play in different positions and I like that because I like multi-functional players. That’s why I can use him as a midfielder, also as a striker and an attacking midfielder. The last game he was more of a defensive midfielder but I like him closer to their area than our own goal.”

Addressing the injury issue at Manchester United, Van Gaal revealed that none of the injured players are likely to feature against Newcastle on Boxing Day which means that the likes of Angel Di Maria and Fellaini will continue to miss the game. However the manager believes that Chris Smalling might make a come-back depending on the last training session before the game.

“Smalling is a question mark – I have to look tomorrow but it’s always like that. For a few players it [this period] is fun because they are recovering quickly, but you also have players who are not recovering so quickly, so I have to rotate.”

Van Gaal believes that his main problem at Manchester United is the injuries sustained by his players which will make it difficult for the club to navigate the tricky year-end schedule.

“My problem is I have a lot of injured players. That is the problem with these matches in the coming weeks.”

Speaking about Radamel Falcao who scored the equaliser against Aston Villa, Van Gaal claims that Falcao is nearing his best form at United.

“Falcao can be in great form, but the team has to be in great form.”

Van Gaal also revealed that his away-form has been good this season as teams do not line up to only defend in their own home stadium. The teams that visit the Old Trafford on the other hand are keen on defending and hence it makes it difficult for United to win matches.

“We want to build a fortress at Old Trafford but we have made that already because we have won a lot. Also, with very great results 3-0 and 4-0. I’m happy with that but then we have to continue because seven is too few I think. So we have to continue and that’s the most difficult point because it is not easy to win games in the Premier League.”

“My record in away matches as a coach is not so bad. Away, teams are more open and want to attack but here (Old Trafford) they want to defend.”

“That is why we have to build up a certain playing style so we can dominate. I’m saying every week that we are dominating for 45 or 60 minutes. We have to dominate for 90 minutes.”

It now remains to be seen if Manchester United can indeed dominate the proceedings against Newcastle United and come out on top at Old Trafford.