Monday 20 November 2017

van gaal ready to go dutch with bid for depay

United captain wants team-mates to kick on for 'top four' spot

BULLISH Wayne Rooney wants Manchester United to build on their big win over Liverpool and drive on towards Champions League qualification with another victory over Aston Villa.

And the Old Trafford skipper wants his team-mates to take a steely grip of the position they have won for themselves despite string of unconvincing performances to mark Louis van Gaal's first season in charge.

Manchester United put a stop to Liverpool's extended run of good form and a big dent in Brendan Rodgers qualification hopes with a comprehensive and eye-catching win at Anfield.

"That means nothing if we don't beat Aston Villa on Saturday.," said Rooney.

"Obviously Arsenal play Liverpool as well on Saturday, so if we can get the win against Villa that will be an even better result than Liverpool was for us."

Rooney is pleased that Manchester United's fate is in their own hands.

"There are still eight games left. We are in a good position at the minute so it's in our own hands, so have to make sure we do it."

Meanwhile, Daley Blind has shrugged off Roy Keane's scathing criticism of defensive abilities following Manchester United's FA Cup exit at the hands ofr Arsenal.

Keane branded Blind "absolutely disgraceful" but the Dutch international sees this as part of the job.

"I can handle it. I don't lose any sleep," said Blind. "When you play for United, you must deal with comments."

Blind is keen to follow in Keane's footsteps and be a leader on the pitch for Manchester United

"I feel good enough to steer players in the right direction. That, I want to grow," he said.

Manager van Gaal has been busy during the international break and was in attendance at Holland's 2-0 win over Spain on Tuesday night to watch transfer target Memphis Depay play 84 minutes of the friendly victory over the reigning European champions.

Van Gaal, who recruited six players and off-loaded 14 following his appointment as United manager last summer, is planning to add at least four new signings to his squad at the end of this season, with the 21-year-old Depay on his shortlist.

Depay has emerged as a potential target, however, after scoring 17 goals for the Eredivisie leaders following his return from the World Cup finals last summer. Phillip Cocu, the PSV coach, has compared Depay to Bayern Munich's Dutch winger Arjen -Robben, and admitted last month that his club were resigned to losing the £ 20million-rated player at the end of the season.

"At some point, it becomes clear that he (Depay) is ready for the next step," Cocu said. "And yes, I think he's going to leave PSV after this season."

Depay, who is also being watched by Paris St Germain, was handed his international debut, aged 19, against Turkey in October 2013 by Van Gaal, who believes that the player can operate on both flanks and also, if required, as a secondary striker.

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