MANCHESTER — Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hit back at suggestions that his side are inconsistent, saying that it is the media who lack consistency, and accusing journalists of not treating Manchester City in the same manner as their city rivals.
The Dutchman questioned the way City’s 5-1 defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup five days ago was covered, in comparison to how United are being viewed. Van Gaal has already raised his grievances about the media this season and he stoked the fires again with his latest comments, claiming that fans on the street support him.
When asked about whether his team are inconsistent, having just lost two then won two, Van Gaal replied: “The media is inconsistent. That’s different.”
It was pointed out to the former Netherlands manager that the media did not cause United to lose against Sunderland a fortnight ago, but he responded by saying: “Against Sunderland, we didn’t lose because of the media, true, but the media makes it bigger than it is. 5-1, Manchester City lost against Chelsea. What was it then?”
Van Gaal was then challenged again, being told that City fielded a second-string side. He responded by making reference to how weakened his own team have been by injuries, saying: “And what am I doing now? Unbelievable. It’s the same. But we don’t lose with such a difference. You have to analyse the results of Manchester United — we only lost one game [heavily], 3-0, versus Arsenal, and they’re on another level.
“We had a lot of bad luck this year but we are still in three cups [Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup] and have those to fight for. It’s not so bad as some media are writing or telling to the fans. I hope the fans shall understand that.
“Still, when I walk on the street, in my village, they are all positive. Not always in the stadium because they follow others but, on the street, it’s one versus one.”
The United manager also believes that certain players are having attention drawn to them while others do not. Memphis Depay, for example, has been regularly asked about at recent news conferences.
Van Gaal said: “Nobody is talking about Morgan Schneiderlin but he played his best match [against Midtjylland] — far out his best match. Some players get the spotlight. Some players never get the spotlight.”
He also confirmed that United will not be training on Friday or Saturday ahead of their match against Arsenal on Sunday. It will be United’s third game in a week, coming after fixtures against Shrewsbury Town and Midtjylland, so they will focus on recovery, with Van Gaal’s only coaching being verbal.
Despite the fatigue, he said the dressing room has been buoyant after overcoming Midtjylland on Thursday.
“I have never seen the dressing-room like this,” Van Gaal said. “Not only the players who played, but those on the bench and also those who are injured, they were all there laughing and talking with each other and happy.”
Marcos Rojo returned for United on Thursday, but he will not be risked from the start against Arsenal.
Van Gaal added: “I hope we can build him up. Also Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini are coming back. In the month of March, a lot of players are coming back, and then we have a strong selection again.”