Monday 18 December 2017

Van Gaal denies humiliating flop Falcao

Louis van Gaal has revealed Radamel Falcao turned out for Manchester United's Under-21 side because he felt the out-of-form striker needed a confidence boost.

The United boss conceded the move did not exactly go to plan though, admitting he was not too impressed by the striker's performance for the youth side.

Twenty-four hours after failing to get off the bench for United's FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal on Monday, Falcao drew his latest blank in a 72-minute appearance for the U21 side against Spurs.

Van Gaal insisted he was not punishing Falcao for his poor form with the seniors - the Colombian has scored just four goals since his eye-catching deadline-day loan move from Monaco.

The Dutchman insists the idea was to help the striker rebuild his shattered confidence.

"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.

Falcao failed to find the net in the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

And Van Gaal did not appear overly impressed with the striker's performance.

He said: "Falcao did not play his best match in the second team but he has tried his utmost best. I cannot ask more from players.''

The fact that a player twice nominated for the Ballon d'Or turned out for a game against a bunch of youngsters in a near-empty Old Trafford shows how far Falcao's stock has plummeted since he moved to England.

Meanwhile, Van Gaal is sure his team's confidence has not been affected by the cup exit to the Gunners.

''I have the same confidence as before,'' said Van Gaal, who has fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool after Sunday's home game against Tottenham.

Angel di Maria's dismissal against Arsenal means he is suspended this weekend and so is Jonny Evans, who is two matches into a six-game ban.

Robin van Persie is still out with an ankle injury and defender Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a groin problem.

"(Rojo) has a minor problem. Maybe I take him out of the game against Tottenham but I have to decide,'' Van Gaal said.

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