In his weekly press conference, Manchester United head coach Louis Van Gaal hinted at a return for beleaguered striker Radamel Falcao while confirming that compatriot Robin Van Persie will not be available for selection for his sidea s match against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Van Persie, who suffered a ligament damagea on his right ankle in Uniteda s defeat at Swansea, has scored ten goals this season and despite some up and down form has been the teama s top striker in terms of goals.
The Dutchmana s absence promised some game time for the anonymous Falcao who has managed a sorry four goals in his debut season in English football and continues to huff and puff whenever he is on the pitch.
After being left on the bench for the last two games, the 29-year-old was forced to play an Under-21 game on Tuesday where he once again struggled to get going. Van Gaal, however, said that he still has faith in the Colombian.
I let my players play in the second squad,” said Van Gaal. “I have seen that it is a ‘humiliation’ but I don’t think so.
“Not only Falcao played,” he added, “but also Victor Valdes and Rafael Da Silva. Rafael played a very good match and scored a wonderful goal, and because of that he can grip his confidence again.
“Every player needs match rhythm. We pay a lot for the players, so it is normal they play football for us, that also includes the second team.
“I have explained already five months ago that every player who doesn’t play in the first-team has to play sometimes.
“Falcao didn’t play his best game in the second team but he tried to do his utmost best, and I cannot ask more than that from my players.”
The Dutchman praised the Colombiana s attitude nonetheless and said that he appreciated his a professionala attitude.
a This is not the first example and it shall not be the last example,” LVG added. “A lot of players need more time to adapt to the new situation, to the new culture, to the higher rhythm of the English game – to a lot of aspects.
a You can easily write a He cana t play football, he didna t do that.a But I cana t say that and dona t want to say that because Falcao, and all the other players, are working very hard and Ia m very pleased with their attitude.
a At a club like Manchester United, ita s more difficult than at a minor club because he has competitors here and now Wayne is playing there and Wayne is scoring. So you always have to compare players with each other but you also need luck and you need a lot of luck when youa re a striker because you are more dependent on your fellow players.
a But he is doing his utmost best. He shows a professional attitude – not only Falcao but all the other players – but you cana t always win.a
The former Ajax and Barcelona coach also said that he was working on a a solutiona to get the striker going.
“We are looking for the solution for him, but you can never know that,” said Van Gaal.
“But a lot of aspects you can’t control as a manager or as a player.
“That’s also the beauty of the football world. You can give fantastic performances in another country, but not in the country you are playing in presently.”
United will also miss Johnny Evans, who is serving a six-game ban for spitting on Newcastle Uniteda s Papiss Cisse, and record signing Angel Di Maria who was shown a red card in the FA Cup clash with Arsenal on Monday.
Di Mariaa s Argentinean team-mate Marcos Rojo will undergo a late fitness test to determine if he can play on Sunday or not.