Van Gaal needs more time to build his United empire

Paul Hirst 8/11/2014
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Three-year plan: Louis van Gaal.

Louis van Gaal may be feeling “lousy” at the moment, but he remains convinced his methods will bring success back to Manches­ter United in the long term.

Van Gaal’s appointment was greeted with great fanfare at Old Trafford this summer, and a near-perfect pre-season tour raised hopes of a tilt at the title.

But after 10 matches United are 10th having gained just 13 points and take on Crystal Palace today without any senior centre-backs.

The fact that David Moyes, who was eventually sacked after just 10 months in charge, had four more points at this stage last year shows just how poor United have been in the first quarter of the season.

“It’s not good enough,’’ he said. ‘I feel, myself, very lousy for the fans firstly, but also for the board because they have a great belief in me and my players and my staff.

“We are in a process and that process shall take more than one year.

"It shall take three years.

“But at the end, when they know it and they are doing the things with conscience, the results shall come.”

Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, who is out for up to 12 weeks with a dislocated shoul­der, are all unavailable today, while Chris Smalling is suspended.

Meanwhile, Morgan Schneider­lin wants to carry the feel-good fac­tor at Southampton into the inter­national break as Saints continue to fight at the top of the table.

Ronald Koeman’s side have won seven of their last eight Premier League fixtures and are just four points adrift of unbeaten Chelsea.

In contrast Leicester, the visi­tors to St Mary’s this weekend, have dropped into the relegation zone having mustered just one draw from their previous five games.

“For a few games now there has been a lot of expectation and we responded well,” Schneiderlin said.

“We are ready to kick on, we know that after Saturday we are going to have another break, the mood is very good but we know it can change very quickly.

“It is important to us before the international break to have a good result against Leicester.”

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#360Fans: Manchester United Supporters’ Club UAE Chevrolet shirt quiz

Scott 4/11/2014
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Sport360 went to Harvesters, Dubai to watch the Manchester derby with the UAE Manchester United Supporters' Club. We offered a United shirt to one lucky fan who could answer three questions correctly about the history of the derby.









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Michael Carrick to play centre-back as Manchester United injury crisis worsens

Paul Hirst 4/11/2014
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Jack of all trades: Michael Carrick has sporadically appeared in defence for Manchester United.

 Michael Carrick is set to solve Manchester United’s injury crisis by playing at centre-back in the coming weeks.

Carrick made his first appear­ance of the season on Sunday when he came off the bench to replace injured centre-back Marcos Rojo in United’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

United expect Rojo, who dislo­cated his left shoulder sliding in for a tackle, to be out for some time which is a blow to Louis van Gaal as he is already short of options at centre-back

The United manager is set to be without Phil Jones for some time as the England centre-back is suffer­ing from shin splints – his second injury of the season.

Meanwhile, Jonny Evans has not played for more than six weeks because of an ankle injury while Chris Small­ing is serving a one-match ban for his careless dismissal for two petty fouls on Sunday.

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is stretchered off from the pitch after dislocating his shoulder during their 1-0 loss to Manchester City

And Carrick, who has featured in defence on occasion throughout his career, claims that he would have no problem starting there in Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace.

“If I need to play there then fine I have not had a lot of football recently so I will play anywhere,” said Carrick, who suffered a serious ankle injury just before United’s pre-season tour of the USA.

“It’s not somewhere I have played an awful lot of games. I have had spells of playing there over the years, playing two or three or four games in a season. But I don’t mind. I will play anywhere.”

Rojo raised hopes of a speedy recovery yesterday when he tried to play down the extent of the injury on Twitter. “Gracias a todos por los mensajes. Gracias a dios fue solo un mal momento / thank you all for your messages. thank god it was nothing,” he wrote.

Gracias a todos por los mensajes. Gracias a dios fue solo un mal momento/ thank you all for your messages. thank god it was nothing

— marcos rojo (@marcosrojo5) November 2, 2014

We can play @carras16 at Centre Back….but still no doubt need to buy at least Ron Vlaar or £20M on Ezquiel Garay #MUFC

— Michael Wenman (@Mike12121995) November 4, 2014

United believe Rojo, who speaks only limited English, made some­thing of a mistake in his trans­lation of the Spanish part of his tweet. “Solo un mal momento” translates as “only a bad moment”, rather than “nothing”, and the club believe his injury is serious.

The defender was discharged from hos­pital on Sunday and the club have confirmed that the defender had suffered a dislocation. Medical esti­mates of a recovery time from such an injury range from six weeks to three months. In 2011, team-mate Rafael was out for three-and-a-half months with a dislocated shoulder.

That means Van Gaal is likely to field Carrick as a centre-back alongside either Tyler Blackett or Paddy McNair this weekend. 

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