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.”
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.
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.
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
— 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.