Man United v Tottenham
Tomorrow: Old Trafford, 4pm
TV: Sky Sports 1
Louis van Gaal picked Radamel Falcao for Manchester United’s U21 side on Wednesday because he felt the out-of-form striker needed a confidence boost.
But the United boss conceded the move did not exactly go to plan, admitting he was not too impressed by the striker’s performance as he drew another 72-minute blank in 1-1 draw with Tottenham’s youngsters.
Van Gaal insisted he was not punishing Falcao for poor form with the seniors – the Colombian has scored just four goals since his eye-catching deadline-day loan move from Monaco.
“That is one of the aspects that I let my players play in the second squad,” Van Gaal said.
“It is not a humiliation. Every player needs match rhythm. We pay a lot for the players, so I think it’s normal that they play football also for us and that can be also in the second team.
“Not only has Falcao played but also (Victor) Valdes has played and Rafa(el) Da Silva has played. Rafa Da Silva played a very good match and scored a wonderful goal and because of that he can grip again his confidence.
“Falcao did not play his best match in the second team but he has tried his utmost best. I cannot ask more from players.”More than seven months after signing the player, Van Gaal is still unable to fathom why Falcao has been unable to replicate the stellar form he showed for Colombia, Porto and Atletico Madrid.
“We are looking for the solution for him but you can never know that.
“You can give fantastic performances in another country but not in the country that you are present for. That is not the first example and it will not be the last example.
Angel di Maria’s dismissal against Arsenal on Monday means he is suspended against Tottenham, as is Jonny Evans, who is two matches into a six-game ban for spitting at Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse.
Robin van Persie is still out with an ankle injury and defender Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a groin problem.
Mauricio Pochettino is targeting a third successive victory for Tottenham at Old Trafford.
“We believe we can win. You never think before a game that it is possible to lose. You are always focusing on getting the three points and are never thinking about losing.
“Our pressure is inside us, in the group. We want to win every game. Maybe Manchester United has history, but our mentality is to compete and try to win the game. Man United is not my problem,” he said.
Pochettino again hailed striker Harry Kane’s contribution, but stopped short of calling for the 21-year-old to be crowned player of the season.
Kane has been named player of the month for both January and February and is the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League having scored 16 league goals so far.
“So far he is a player that deserves a lot of praise,” said Pochettino.
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