Van Gaal banks on Rooney to end Goodison drought
Louis Van Gaal has told Wayne Rooney to end his barren run away from home by scoring his first goal at Goodison Park for eight years today.
The former Everton player, who has hit only five goals in all competitions for Manchester United this season, returns to Merseyside having failed to score away from home in the Premier League since the 2-1 victory at Arsenal last November.
Approaching his 30th birthday next week, Rooney is also carrying the burden of having scored just twice in nine visits to Goodison, with none since April 2007.
When asked whether he was concerned by Rooney's poor form away from home for United, Van Gaal insisted today was the perfect opportunity to silence his critics.
"Yes [I am concerned]," Van Gaal said. "Maybe against Everton that can change, but I have heard his average there is not so good. It is getting time that he changed that pattern.
"I don't know [why he hasn't scored there]. For that, you have to ask Wayne, but I am a manager who analyses opponents and gives advice as to how we can disorganise Everton's defence, so maybe he can score.
"That's what I'm doing, not only for Wayne but all the players, especially from the view of team tactics rather than individual tactics."
Although Rooney broke Bobby Charlton's international goalscoring record with England this season and scored a Champions League hat-trick in the qualifying round against Club Brugge, he has so far managed just one league goal - against Sunderland last month.
United travel to Goodison having lost on each of their last three visits.
And, after suffering a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in their last outing, Van Gaal has told his players that they must bounce back after an "awful" two weeks.
"We've spoken about this [Arsenal result]. It cannot happen again," Van Gaal said.
"We want to be the champions, so we must behave like champions. You have to improve every time.
"It has been an awful two weeks because before the last international break we lost against Swansea.
"It's not only the players, it's the staff, and my cook, Mike, because he has a big influence on the atmosphere in the canteen." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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