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Thursday 8 December 2016

De Gea 'problems' keeping him out

Van Gaal plays hard ball with Real but is happy with squad

David de Gea (pictured left with fellow Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindergard) will not be selected by manager Louis van Gaal until he commits to the club
David de Gea (pictured left with fellow Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindergard) will not be selected by manager Louis van Gaal until he commits to the club

David de Gea has been left out of the Manchester United squad for the second successive week after Louis van Gaal claimed the goalkeeper is still not able to focus properly because of Real Madrid's interest in him.

De Gea watched United's season-opening win against Tottenham from the stands last week because Van Gaal felt he had been affected by the speculation linking him with a move to the Bernabeu.

One week on, Van Gaal has seen no improvement in the Spaniard's mental state and he will therefore miss the second match of the season at Aston Villa tonight.

''No, it's the same situation,'' the United manager said when asked if De Gea would be in the squad for the Villa game.

"There is no difference. The transfer period is still open and he has still the same problems."

United are refusing to sell De Gea unless they get Sergio Ramos in return or Madrid pay a fee of over £32.6million for the player. Senior sources at Old Trafford insist they do not mind if the 24-year-old runs down his contract, and Van Gaal is happy to wait until the transfer window shuts before bringing De Gea into the first-team squad.

"I have said that already," said Van Gaal, who looks set to start with Sergio Romero in goal at Villa Park. Another person who looks set to stay at United is Adnan Januzaj.

Quizzed

The Belgian was linked with a move to Sunderland after being left out of the match day squad for the Spurs game.

When quizzed on whether he would consider letting Januzaj leave on loan, Van Gaal replied: "He is still not for sale."

Januzaj broke into the United team during David Moyes' only year in charge, but has started just seven league games under the Scot's successor.

Van Gaal insists he is happy with the 20-year-old forward, however. He added: "He (Januzaj) is doing his best.

"All the players are, I don't have any complaints.''

Javier Hernandez made the 18 for the Spurs game, but did not come off the bench.

The Mexican spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, but it does not look like he will be leaving Old Trafford in this transfer window despite West Ham's interest in him.

"No, the (first) striker is Rooney, Hernandez is the second striker and he knows that," Van Gaal said.

Van Gaal's main focus is on bringing in new players before the window shuts.

The Dutchman is keen to push through a deal for Pedro, who scored the winner for Barcelona in their UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla in Georgia on Tuesday night. There could be at least one more signing before September 1, but Van Gaal will not enter the market just for the sake of it.

"It is always our aim to improve our squad and when it is possible we shall do it," he said.

"But we will only buy when it is a contribution to the selection."

The build-up to tonight's game has been dominated by some strong words from a former Barcelona player, Hristo Stoichkov.

The Bulgarian branded Van Gaal a "mediocre" manager who "destroys" players and clubs in an interview on Spanish radio station Onda Cero earlier this week.

Van Gaal claims Stoichkov's tirade against him is because he still holds a grudge against him for selling the striker to CSKA Sofia when he was manager at the Nou Camp.

"It is not bothering me," Van Gaal said.

"He is one of the players I (sold) and that is why he is doing that.''

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