Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has sat with the press for the first time ahead of his first competitive match in charge of the Old Trafford club. Manchester United face Swansea City in the opening fixture of the new Barclays Premier League season, which will be played at the Theatre of Dreams, kicking off at 12:45 BST and will be shown live on BT Sport here in the United Kingdom. Van Gaal has suffered his first injury crisis during his reign at the club, with new signing Luke Shaw out for the next month, with Jonny Evans, Rafael da Silva, Antonio Valencia, Sam Johnstone, Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick also on the sidelines, it is obvious that injuries will cause the supporters a cause for concern, especially as there is not a lot of quality throughout the team, which incidentally is crying out for reinforcement.
Here are the main points from the press conference:
Louis van Gaal on why Wayne Rooney was picked as the new Manchester United captain:
“I’ve made him captain because of his attitude on the pitch and the training ground.
“Not so much outside the pitch, but I’ve told him that is important to me and he’s accepted his responsibility.
“I’ve liked very much how he has trained and performed so far and how he has behaved to his fellow players.
“After Tuesday’s game I joked with him don’t try too hard – let it fly.
“In USA he scored a lot of goals and made an amount of assists. That is the Wayne I want to see.”
Van Gaal on the players currently on the sidelines through injury and will definitely miss the match against Swansea, among others:
“Sam Johnstone – the goalkeeper. Antonio Valencia, Shaw and Evans – three defenders. Welbeck. I believe that is it.”
Van Gaal confirmed that Dutch striker Robin van Persie will play no part in the Swansea City match this weekend:
“Van Persie has no chance. He has to train.”
Raimond Verheijen criticised Van Gaal for Luke Shaw’s injury, the Dutchman gave some reasons for the players injury:
“We’ve analysed the injury. It is difficult to lay a finger on it but of course there are a lot of reasons.
“The first was the World Cup. The second is jet-lag from the USA. The third is that he has not trained enough physically to play matches.
“The fourth reason is that he didn’t come fit. The fifth reason is that after travelling back we had a match on Tuesday.
“The sixth reason is the training – the amount of sessions. I’ve only done half of what I would have done with other clubs.”
Van Gaal confirmed that he has players available to play in Shaw’s position whilst he is on the sidelines:
“But we have played in the US with Reece James and Ashley Young in that position, so it is well covered.”
Van Gaal on the number of players missing from his side, which will severely weaken the already weak squad:
“Nine players are injured and I am not nervous. We have beaten everyone so far but tomorrow is the one that counts.”
Van Gaal has also confirmed that he has yet to meet up with Sir Alex Ferguson:
“No, until this moment I have not found the time to do that and I do not know if he is at home.
“He called off [going on tour] but I have also been very busy. That is the reason.”
That was all that was discussed. There were no questions about new signings and whether the club are actually looking into bringing in players, that are desperately needed, to the club. Currently United are linked to Arturo Vidal, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Kostas Manolas, with more players likely to be speculated upon as each day passes. I am happy that the words “I am happy with my squad” or “no more signings” were not used, so it keeps us all hopeful of quality signings being made before the closure of the summer transfer window.