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Press Conference: Januzaj injured, Young coming back, Darmian too, maybe!

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal sat down with the media ahead of the final Barclays Premier League match of the season, against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United had the chance to fight for a top four position on Tuesday night, but suffered a 3-2 defeat to West Ham United, which has meant that a place in the top four is not likely, unless Manchester City is beaten by Swansea City on Sunday – which could happen knowing that City have lost form and Swansea are currently in form, but in football you can never guess. City will be boosted by the fact they can earn UEFA Champions League football next season, getting the better over Manchester United at the same time. It looks as though UEFA Europa League football, from the group stages, could be on the cards for next season. Here are all the main points from the press conference ahead of the visit of Bournemouth on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal confirms that Adnan Januzaj is injured and will miss Sunday’s match against Bournemouth; Ashley Young is coming back and Matteo Darmian could also be back:

“Unfortunately, Januzaj has been injured in the training session, so he is out for Sunday. We have to wait and see for the final. The rest is like it was. Darmian is still out but can be in. It is dependable on the progress. Schweinsteiger is out and Shaw is out. Ashley Young is coming in, so he is restored of his injury and can train tomorrow with our squad. But it is one training session.”

Van Gaal confirms that Luke Shaw will return to action next season which will be a big disappointment for him:

“I have always said to Luke that he can play in the final to keep his motivation high, but now I cannot say that anymore because we are in the final! It is a pity because he cannot reach that level to play. He needs more time to play but it keeps his motivation very high. It is still high and I have to give compliments to him because it is not easy to be away for such a long time. He is coming back, but he is coming back next season.”

Van Gaal on the difficulty Manchester United faces to achieve a top four place this season, after the defeat to West Ham United:

“We are now dependent on Manchester City and that is the difference. That is also frustrating because we had the chance, with two games to go, to keep that advantage. We were 2-1 ahead with 15 minutes to play and we gave it away. That is frustrating as now we are dependable. It is still possible, so we fight for until the end.”

Van Gaal on the reports that Swansea City might rest players against Manchester City on Sunday:

“Yes but I have also rested players, so that it is also possible for Swansea City. It is the responsibility of the manager to do what he thinks is right for the team and I cannot judge that. My task is the same. We play against Bournemouth, not against City.”

Van Gaal on the lessons learned from the 2015/16 season:

“I can say what we have to improve still. I don’t think we have to improve much in our defensive organisation because we are doing well. We have to score more in our attacking organisation which is something I have said at the start of this season. We need creative, fast players in attack. It is still what I have said at that time and we have to change that and that is very important.”

Van Gaal reflects on the current season:

“It is always the same, you have to evaluate yourself and also the staff and the players. Then you have to communicate with them and listen to each other. This shall also be done next season. The principles are always the same, except when one of my players, staff or board members can convince me of other arguments. It is always like that.”

Van Gaal on summer transfers and whether missing out on UEFA Champions League football will result on Manchester United missing out on top players:

“You cannot say that, you can only say it afterwards. Last year we were also in that situation and at the end we qualified. Still there were players that I wanted that we did not purchase because you are dependable on a lot of circumstances. I cannot discuss that with you as it is a question for the board and the manager.”

Van Gaal when asked if his team needed to kill the threat of another team much quicker:

“Yes, I have said that many times so you are right.We train to overcome this problem, training in the situations that are ahead and that you have to make the pitch big and keep the ball better. When you make the pitch big the opponent has to run more metres and it is easier to do that.”

Van Gaal when asked whether Michael Carrick will be rewarded with a new contract at Manchester United:

“It’s not a matter that I discuss with you.”

Manchester United have had a poor season, that is something that has been talked about from start to finish, or near enough anyway. Whatever anyone says, injuries have had their fair share to blame for the poor season, especially the loss of Luke Shaw, who started his second season at the club in great form, combining with Memphis Depay on the left side of the pitch. His double fracture was a devastating blow for him, his team-mates, the manager and the club as a whole. United just did not look the team they were with Shaw, without him. Still, you cannot blame everything on injuries, there are many other factors which have resulted in a poor season – players not performing, tactics not working, boring possession football, lack of penetration in front of goal and many more things which we all know and have read about many times before. Luke Shaw being ruled out of the Emirates FA Cup final by the manager will come as a big blow for the player, which could also rule him out of Euro 2016 this summer, but if that happens, it will be for the best as it would be another devastating blow if he came back too early and suffered another injury. Manchester United need to stagger his comeback, allow him to prove himself and get back to his best. Next season will be one for him to continue where he left off, proving himself at the club. He has done well for the devastating blow of his double leg fracture to not affect him like it could have done.

Injuries still seem to be rearing their ugly head with Adnan Januzaj now ruled out for the last home match of the season against Bournemouth, but seeing his for the U21’s a week ago, and seeing him not get on the pitch against Norwich City last weekend, and his late introduction when United were chasing the game against West Ham midweek, it is probably for the best that he is out of action. This summer will be a big one for him, which could see him sold, loaned or survive to fight for a place at the club. Ashley Young is coming back into the squad after missing months of the season and Matteo Darmian could return from his injury, which saw his substituted early into the 1-0 victory over Norwich City last weekend. Manchester United have a big week coming up, the top four is not something United can achieve on their own, they need to rely on other clubs to get there, but it is still possible. The Emirates FA Cup could see the club finishing the season in style, which would be a welcome break after twelve years of not lifting the domestic trophy – still, that should not mean the season was a success, it would just allow the bitter months to end with a much better taste. Come on UNITED!

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