Louis Van Gaal has hinted he would rather promote youngsters through the ranks at Manchester United than simply splashing out big fees on proven players.
The Dutchman has spent £250m in his first two transfer windows since arriving at Old Trafford in July last year but, despite fears he might veer away from the club’s ethos of handing young players a chance, he’s promoted a number of players from the youth ranks into the first team.
Chris Smalling has admitted that working as a unit has been the key behind Manchester United’s excellent defensive record this season.
For all their issues in the final third of the pitch, United have been rock-solid at the back, something few would have predicted when Louis Van Gaal failed to recruit the world class centre-back many thought his side needed in the summer.
Louis Van Gaal is expected to be in the market for a winger in January, after revealing he deems United in need of pacy wide players capable to make a difference.
United bolstered their attacking options by signing Anthony Martial on deadline day but the Frenchman isn’t a traditional winger, even though he’s been deployed out wide by Van Gaal a number of times so far this season, while Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata aren’t traditional wingers either.
It would probably be fair to argue that in a world where a photograph of an avocado is the most popular image on the internet, there clearly isn’t enough bleach on this planet. If there were we’d have culled the human race and successfully wiped out over population.
There isn’t and we haven’t, which goes a long way in explaining why grown men would boo their own team at a football match. There has been a lot of frustration at United of recent and much of it is justified, however it is hard to justify turning on your own team and manager in the way the Old Trafford crowd did on Tuesday.
Marcos Rojo is determined to make the left-back position his own, insisting he’s desperate to make the most of the opportunity handed to him by Luke Shaw’s serious injury.
With the former Southampton man in fantastic form at the start of the season, Rojo looked set for a place on the bench, with some rumours going as far as suggesting the Argentina international could even leave Old Trafford after just one season. However, Shaw’s season-ending injury against PSV Eindovhen has given Rojo an unexpected route back into the starting XI and he shown the kind of consistent form that Louis Van Gaal demanded.
Manchester United are not on the level they were six years ago as the retirement of experienced players has hurt them badly, according to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The former United number seven said United have changed since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure and while Louis Van Gaal has steadied the ship since arriving at the club, a lot of work remains to be done.
Louis Van Gaal said he was unfazed by the criticism aimed at his decision of replacing Anthony Martial and keeping faith with Wayne Rooney on Tuesday night.
The United manager’s decision to replace the Frenchman with Marouane Fellaini halfway through the second half with the score still 0-0 was soundly booed by a large section of fans. However, Van Gaal feels his decision was vindicated as Rooney secured United’s winner shortly afterward.
Manchester United took a potentially decisive step towards reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League after a late Wayne Rooney goal secured a precious 1-0 win against CSKA Moscow.
United looked more enterprising than they had done at any stage against Middlesbrough and Palace but remained too prone to spell of sterile possession, while fans vented their frustrations again as Louis Van Gaal replaced Anthony Martial with Marouane Fellaini.
Here are five talking points from last night.