Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal feels that his team have been the best in the Premier League over the last few months. The Dutchman, who took charge of United in the summer, has come under fire in recent weeks as the club failed to produce performances of any real quality.
Yet, it is a far cry from the team that was outplayed on the opening day of the season by Swansea City who are also Uniteda s opponents on Saturday.
Following that shock defeat, the club could only manage winning three out of the first 11 games under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager. Since then, however, the situation has changed with United suffering from just one defeat in 19.
“As you know, when you see the score of the last 19 or 20 matches we are the best team in the league,” Van Gaal said. “So, I think confidence is also high like the beginning [of the season].
Van Gaal then added that the team has changed an awful lot from his first Premier League game, with players such as Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao coming in.
“I think only the difference is now the players know and have experience of playing in the system with my philosophy. We also shouldn’t forget a lot of my players in the first match were not there.
“Rojo wasn’t there, Blind was not there, Di Maria was not there, maybe another player, Shaw was not playing for example. A lot of players didn’t play so when I see the lineup against Swansea there is a lot of differences — it’s another match.”
Still, the Dutch manager maintained that he was shocked when United lost that game to Swansea, given their brilliant preseason tour.
“We came from the United States where we had won everything, so that was a big shock at that moment,” Van Gaal added.
At the start of the season, Van Gaal had said that he wasna t happy with the US tour, and repeated the same again.
“We don’t have to forget that we have said it in advance that the American tour was not good for the preparation for a team in the Premier League.”
Turning his attention to Saturdaya s game again, the 63 year-old said was visibly pleased to announce that both Robin Van Persie and Phil Jones could return at Swansea.
They [Jones and van Persie] are fit to play,” Louis van Gaal informed MUTV. “Only Carrick is still injured. I think he shall train with the group next week. I expect that, but you never know. Youa ll have to wait and see.”
He also praised the Swansa playing style under Garry Monk who, like Van Gaal, was appointed in the summer.
“Swansea are a very good team,” he added. “I like to see them playing. They want to play football. They want to make the game a passing game like we do, so I like that kind of football. I hope it shall be a match like that.”