Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal insisted that the horrific injury to young defender Luke Shaw in midweek could in fact galvanize his team as he prepares to take on Ronald Koeman’s Southampton on Sunday

 

Manchester United have made a promising start to the league season, winning three of their opening five games, including a 3-1 win over fierce rivals Liverpool FC in their previous fixture at Old Trafford. The opportunity to close the gap on league-leading Manchester City to just two points presents itself on Sunday, when the Red Devils take on Southampton at St.Mary’s.

Dutch manager Louis van Gaal was impressed with Luke Shaw’s positive attitude following the double leg-break the young England international suffered in United’s defeat to PSV Eindhoven, in their Champions League opener in midweek, and believes that the incident could bring his side closer together.

Louis van Gaal believes Shaw shock could bring players closer

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As his Manchester United side prepare to take on Southampton on Sunday in their sixth Premier League fixture, manager Louis van Gaal has identified a silver lining to the horrific incident in the Champions League game in Eindhoven that saw 20-year-old Luke Shaw suffer a double leg-break.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of the game, Van Gaal is quoted by the club’s official website as saying: “There was also a question in Eindhoven, in the press conference, about the mental influence of such an injury and I said that I cannot prove that.

“You cannot see into the heads of the players. I have now read in some papers that some players said it had an influence.

“But maybe it will have a positive influence in the dressing room. When you see us playing and the spirit that we have, I don’t have any doubt.”

The Dutchman was reluctant to provide a timeline for the former Southampton youngster’s return, but admitted it is likely to be a six-month lay-off. “I am not a doctor, so I cannot say it,” Van Gaal said. “And the doctor cannot say it either because there can be circumstances in which he has a setback. However, if everything is good, then maybe six months.”

Ronald Koeman identifies Daley Blind as potential weak-link in Manchester United defence

Ronald Koeman comes up against a familiar figure on Sunday in Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, as also Dutch international Daley Blind, with whose father he formed a formidable centre-back pairing for the Netherlands.

Addressing a press-conference ahead of the game, Koeman said of Blind (via ESPN FC): “I think he can play very well out of that position but he’s not really a strong defender physically. That’s sometimes the problem. He has a lot of other qualities out of that position that can be very positive for the team.

“It’s our job to analyse opponents and if he plays left or as a centre-back we can do some movements in attack with crosses. We know that [Southampton striker Graziano] Pelle is very strong and normally he’s stronger than Blind is or stronger than [United’s Marcos] Rojo is.”

The Dutchman also admitted to making an attempt to sign United attacker Memphis Depay for Southampton, but acknowledged the club had no chance once Europe’s giants came calling.

“We showed interest but they said he would stay in Holland another year and then maybe he would like to move. We knew if interest from big clubs comes along, we don’t win. That is normal. I think he will be a success if he keep his feet on the ground.

“[Southampton’s interest] was in preseason of my first year. They said he would stay in Holland and then after that maybe he would take a decision to move. That was the case.

“If you can move to United, Chelsea, Bayern [Munich], Real Madrid, you choose that. Not Southampton.”