Friday 20 April 2018

Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United must improve to stop Andy Carroll

West Ham's Andy Carroll
West Ham's Andy Carroll

Jeremy Wilson

Louis van Gaal has admitted that Manchester United must urgently improve their defensive communication if they are to counter the threat of the “unique” Andy Carroll in Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Carroll scored a hat-trick against Arsenal at Upton Park on Saturday and, after seeing centre-backs Chris Smalling and Daley Blind struggle with crosses and set-pieces in the 3-0 defeat against Tottenham on Sunday, Van Gaal is clearly preparing for Carroll’s threat.

“I have seen the Andy Carroll show and, against Tottenham, I think our problem was also the miscommunication of our central defenders,” he said. “I hope that we improve our communication because it is very important this game for us.”

Asked if Carroll was unique now in English football, Van Gaal said: “Yes, he has special qualities. We have seen that in the match that he played Saturday. It was against Arsenal and they also have great central defenders but still he could do that. So we have to cope with Andy Carroll but not also Andy Carroll. With other players. They have a certain player named Payet. He can also play. Lanzini can also play and score goals. It is always difficult to cope with this kind of players of that level.”

With West Ham having played at home at 12.45pm on Saturday and United only finishing their delayed match against Tottenham at 6.30pm on Sunday, Van Gaal highlighted the shortened recovery period for his players. The FA Cup is also the final opportunity this season for Van Gaal to win a first trophy since arriving at Manchester United in 2014 and overseeing what has been an unprecedented spending spree. “It is the last chance of a title, so it is very important for the players, club, manager, fans,” he said.

“And still we have one day less than West Ham United. That is also important. We have proved against Arsenal and Manchester City that, in spite of less days to recover, we could beat them I hope we shall recover very good. Also mentally because the Tottenham game is a blow of course but everybody knows that this is the last chance.

“I think the players of Manchester United have to cope with that pressure. They have done it always. They know that every game in a cup is a match that you have to win. Both teams have to cope with that.”

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