Thursday 26 April 2018

Van Gaal hints at reshuffle of jaded stars for Arsenal clash

Ashley Young
Ashley Young

Tim Rich

Manager Louis van Gaal believes tiredness is Manchester United's greatest enemy as they prepare to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The United manager argued the strain of overcoming Wolfsburg 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday night meant he would have to make changes to the side that came from behind to beat the German Cup holders at Old Trafford.

"It is all about recovery, recovery, recovery," he said. "That is why it will be so difficult to prepare for the match against Arsenal. I want to prepare this match properly on the training pitch but I cannot do it because you need freshness.

"The only other solution is to change the squad and I have to see if I can do that. I cannot make decisions now, the team has a day off on Friday and then we travel down. I will have to do it then."

One of the reasons for the weariness afflicting United is that, unlike last season, Van Gaal has not used fringe players.

Realistically, United have only two specialist strikers in Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. Even against a virtual Ipswich second XI in the League Cup last week, both played.


Without the injured Luke Shaw, United also have limited options to rotate their full-backs - a position Ashley Young found himself occupying when Antonio Valencia was taken off after 45 insipid minutes against Wolfsburg.

"Ashley Young is very important now," said Van Gaal of an individual who was not expected to last long under his management.

"What I like about Young is that he is a team player and there are not many team players out there. He can play in a lot of positions and for a trainer-coach it is fantastic he is willing to do that.

"He has hardly played as a full-back but he accepts his role and I am glad he did because our winning goal against Wolfsburg started with him."

Meanwhile, midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin thinks United are starting to win over their critics with the way they are playing.

"I do feel we are improving," he said. "At the start of the season people were talking about good results and not very good performances. In the last few weeks I don't hear this any more.

"We can see that on the training pitch and we can see that in the games. We are much better on the ball, we are doing better things and something we play is very high quality football. But there are still some things we can improve." (© Independent News Service)

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