Van Gaal baffled as U-21 outing fails to geet Falcao firing
MANCHESTER UNITED manager Louis van Gaal has confessed that he is baffled by Radamel Falcao's increasingly spectacular failure to make a mark in the English game following a dismal midweek appearance for the club's U-21 team, WRITES MARK OGDEN.
The chances of United turning the Colombian forward's £6m loan deal into a permanent £43.2m transfer from Monaco are fading by the week.
Van Gaal claimed that he selected Falcao for United's U-21 match against Tottenham last Tuesday in a bid to boost the forward's confidence, but admitted that the Colombian "didn't do the best" during his humbling appearance alongside the club's youngsters.
With just four goals to his credit since completing his £265,000-a-week loan move on the final day of the summer transfer window, Falcao endured a sobering 71-minute run-out in an U-21 game against Tottenham.
And while Van Gaal insisted there was no slight in his demotion to the U-21s, he conceded that he cannot explain the striker's current malaise. "Falcao didn't play his best match in the second team but he tried to do his utmost best; I can't ask more of players," said Van Gaal. "I let my players play in the second squad if I believe they need games. I have read that it's a 'humiliation' but I don't think so.
"It's a professional attitude, a professional attitude of the manager, of his management of the club but especially also from the player.
"He has not reacted like the media have reacted. I explained already five months ago that every player who doesn't play has to play sometimes, not regularly, but sometimes when we think it's needed to play more minutes in the second team."
Van Gaal added: "We are looking for the solution for him, but you never can know that - a lot of aspects you can't control as a manager or as a player. That's also the beauty of the football world, that you can give fantastic performances in another country but not in the country you are playing in presently. This is not the first example and it shall not be the last example. He shows a professional attitude, but you can't always win.
"You can easily write 'he can't play football, he didn't do that'. But I can't say that and don't want to say it because Falcao, and all the other players, are working very hard and I'm very pleased with their attitude.
"Alongside Falcao, Valdes and Rafael da Silva also played in the game and Rafael scored a very good goal, gave a very good performance and, because of that, he can now grip his confidence."
Fresh from FA Cup defeat by Arsenal, United's match against Tottenham tomorrow marks the start of a five-game period in which they also play Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. (© Daily Telegraph, London)