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Van Gaal happy with mid-week friendlies plan

03 October 2014, 23:01

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal revealed on Friday that he has given his consent to the club's proposals to play mid-week friendly matches overseas in the new year.

Prior to the start of the current campaign, van Gaal expressed frustration over United's widespread commercial commitments and punishing schedule during pre-season.

Earlier this week, managing director Richard Arnold confirmed reports that United, who are not involved in any European competition, will look at the possibility of arranging lucrative exhibition matches in 2015.

Van Gaal has now declared that he will go along with the idea and feels the team will benefit from the extra games once they have got more used to the changes he has implemented since he took up his role in July.

"I agree with that. I said that also. We (van Gaal and Arnold) have spoken last week with each other and (executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward, so I fully agree," he told a press conference on Friday.

Also read: Rodgers in search of Liverpool revival

"I'm used to playing mid-weeks but I have said in the first three months we have to wait because it's difficult enough for the players to adapt and adjust to the new play organisation and style and they shall honour that also.

"But we shall play mid-weeks. It's good, because I like to play games against high-level opponents."

Defender Tyler Blackett will return from suspension for Sunday's home match against Everton in the Premier League, but van Gaal has said that Paddy McNair will continue at centre-back.

The 19-year-old Northern Ireland defender made his debut in the 2-1 win over West Ham United last weekend and van Gaal is happy for him to stay in the team.

The United manager has also suggested that Juan Mata will replace suspended captain Wayne Rooney.

Herrera, Fellaini not ready

"It's no difference. I believe we still have three central defenders injured so (McNair) shall play," said the Dutchman.

"He's the only player that can play in that right central defender position. I chose him last week and he played very good.

"For a player like him it's very difficult to maintain that level. That is his biggest challenge.

"I think in (Rooney's) position, Juan Mata has also played well. I had to choose at that time. I shall miss him because of the captaincy, but Juan Mata can also play very well."

Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera is absent with a rib injury and van Gaal does not expect Marouane Fellaini to be available to face his old club as he works his way back from an ankle injury.

Van Gaal said: "It's difficult to explain, but you can be fit but not match fit. That's the big difference. So for example Herrera is fit, but he can't play because of his rib pressure. He's fit, but he cannot play.

"Fellaini has trained one week but he's not fit to play 90 minutes. We have eight injuries and one red card (suspension), so nine players are not available to play."

Van Gaal refused to disclose whether United have already attempted to make Colombian striker Radamel Falcao's season-long loan move from Monaco permanent.

United go into the weekend in seventh place in the league table, two points below the Champions League places and eight points behind early-season pace-setters Chelsea.



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