Despite being in football management for almost 30 years now, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is yet to manage a single game at one of the most iconic stadiuma s in the world a Anfield.
The Dutchman, however, will finally get his chance this Sunday as United prepare to battle their fiercest rivals in Merseyside. At his weekly press conference, Van Gaal spoke about the match and its importance and not just in the battle for fourth place but also traditionally.
“I think every player knows the importance of this game. We are in a very crucial stage and cannot lose.”
“The next match is against Liverpool, and that is not a ground where Manchester United has won a lot.”
To understand the significance of the clash, Van Gaal asked assistant Ryan Giggs to give a presentation ahead of the game. Giggs starred in several matches against the Anfield club over the years.
“I have Ryan Giggs to tell importance of that to the players and me in his presentation.
“I like that because it shows it is a very particular match for the fans, it helps to focus on concentrate.”
The conversation then turned to Van Gaala s talismanic midfielder Michael Carrick who has been the rock around which this United team play. The midfielder was in top form against former club Tottenham Hotspur and has signed a one year extension to his contract this week.
“He’s my second captain so he’s an important man in my selection,” he says.
“He is important because he can read the game,” he adds.
“He can coach during the game but he can improvise.”
Since joining the Red Devils, Carrick has scored 23 goals in 376 appearances, one of which came against Spurs last Sunday.
Another player on the score sheet was captain Wayne Rooney who has been in very good form over the last couple of weeks, since moving back into the centre forwarda s position.
“Wayne Rooney is Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick is Michael Carrick, they are different people, the media creates news about them.”
“Every win is better than a loss or draw, you start better. We played very well in the first half.”
“But it says nothing when you lose the next match.
“Liverpool is not the ground that United has won a lot on.”
With all four English teams now out of the Champions League, Van Gaal was asked whether English football is in decline. The 63-year-old responded by bringing into question the festive season when all the leagues are off, but the Premier League isna t.
“I have to go back to Christmas, the world is changing, it isn’t the same as 20 years ago.”
“20 years ago EPL was here [raises arm] and now the other countries are developing but they have always a winter break,we play 4 in 2 weeks.
“Bayern Munich are much fresher than players of Arsenal and Chelsea. Players need rest.”