Manchster United completed a drab goalless draw in their home match against Manchester City, this weekend, but they would certainly be looking to get a victory over a high flying Middlesborough FC.
However, Manchester United are coming on the back of a demanding Premier League and Champions League schedule, and have the same in front of them, on the other side of this Capital One Cup tie.
After Wednesdaya s tie against Middlesborough FC, Louis van Gaala s men have an away fixture at Crystal Palace on Saturday, before welcoming CSKA Moscow to the Theatre of Dreams, on Tuesday.
The Dutch manager seems to be quite concerned over the fact that this demanding schedule is wearing his players out. Speaking to The Guardian on the eve of the match, he said that he was not even sure who to play and who to rest.
a I have a lot of players in the red zone because we have had a lot of matches and we have a lot of matches to play,” said van Gaal. “I have to see if I can use them or not. We need all the days to recover at this moment.a
The 64-year-old did admit that his side would have a rather tough time against Middlesborough FC, who are “a good playing side”, but chose to look at the positive side of things, with regards to this aspect.
a I think Middlesbrough is a good playing side. They want to play football, that is also a benefit for us, I think,” he said. “You can also see teams with another play style and that is more difficult for us, but we can play football against them but it is also dependable of the strategy their team.a
Middlesborough have done well under manager Aitor Karanka, reaching the Championship promotion playoffs last season. This season too, they are on one of the playoff spots (fourth), and have won three of their last six matches.
Karanka, who has played for top La Liga sides like Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, has faced the then manager van Gaal’s team as a player, and says that this experience might just count in his favour, for the match. The 42-year-old, who was current Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho’s deputy at Real Madrid, says he has indirectly learnt a lot from van Gaal.
a He is an interesting coach and he is particularly interesting for me because I have learned with Jose and Jose learned from van Gaal,” Karanka was quoted saying to I took the lessons from Jose so I feel I have learned from van Gaal too.”
Van Gaal feels Manchester United fans were happy with performance against Manchester City
Manchester United have been criticised after their derby agaisnt arch-rivals Manchester City, for playing an extremely drab game. While van Gaal says that it was a boring game for the spectators, he does not believe that they booed the players off the pitch.
a I think the Manchester United fans were happy to see that because I have seen them also applauding when we left the pitch. It is not like the media are saying,a said van Gaal. At any rate, He expects a much better match this time round, as Middlesbobrough also play good attacking football.
It would be interesting to see how Manchester United line-up against the high flying Championship sides, who have the potential to beat the English giants. Does van Gaal rest some players for the upcoming Crystal Palace and CSKA Moscow matches.