Louis Van Gaal has confirmed that the injury crisis is over at Manchester United as they host 4th placed Southampton on Sunday as United look to catch up Chelsea and Manchester City in the title run-in.
Louis Van Gaal’s arrival at Manchester United marked the start of an injury plague that affected almost all his players thus forcing the Dutchman to field several different players as the season progressed. However, speaking before the game against Southampton, Van Gaal has revealed his astonishment in the fact that he only has one player injured, in stark contrast to his early days at Old Trafford.
“I’m very happy with your question because we have only one player injured. Can you believe it? Only one. I have to select for the first team in my career at Manchester United the eleven and the eighteen players.”
Ashley Young is the only player injured and will be out for upto six weeks as Luke Shaw and Rafael return from injury. New signings Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo have also recovered from their injuries and have returned to training, giving Van Gaal a welcome selection head-ache ahead of an important clash against Southampton.
“Ashley Young (is out for) four weeks to six weeks, I think. It’s always difficult to predict in a muscle disease. Blind has trained a full week with us. Will he be fit to play? Maybe, I cannot say that because I have to select.”
However Van Gaal is aware that there is stark difference between being free from injuries and being match-fit.
“Angel Di Maria has played only 20 minutes and that’s because of the match rhythm that I gave. I have said I have only one injured player, but I don’t have 100 per cent match fit players. That’s a different thing, but of course Di Maria is for example further than Daley Blind or Rojo. I have to select the best team and also I have to watch the qualities of Southampton, how I can reduce that quality by my line-up but also by our game-plan.”
With Rojo, Luke Shaw and Daley Blind available for selection, Van Gaal will finally have the opportunity to organise his make-shift defence and play with a team that imbibes his ‘philosophy’. The presence of Blind and Di Maria gives Van Gaal plenty of options in the midfield and United can finally field it’s five superstars, Falcao, Van Persie, Rooney, Di Maria and Blind, together.
Meanwhile Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes that Manchester United should be competing for trophies after signing expensive players and bringing on board Louis Van Gaal as the manager.
“They have great players so it’s normal that they will fight for titles.They have to. How you can spend that money, how can you sign that kind of players, and not be fighting to win titles?”
“Everything is up to Manchester United. They have a very successful coach, they have great players, they have money, they have great fans, a great stadium. It’s normal that you win titles.”
Koeman admitted that he had problems with Van Gaal but believes that it is now in the past.
“We had some problems in the past. We shake hands and I hope he will do well with United. It would be special to beat him, but I lost the last time and we try to put it right this time.”
The two teams faced each last month where an inspired Robin Van Persie put two past Southampton to earn Van Gaal a narrow win. Will Koeman extract his revenge now?