Louis van Gaal says his Manchester United players are in “the red zone” due to the high volume of matches the Red Devils are currently playing this season.
Manchester United have played 16 games in all competitions so far this season, with Van Gaal criticising the lack of a Christmas break in the Premier League at Christmas as “evil”.
No Premier League club has played more games than the Red Devils so far this season, and Van Gaal believes his players are being pushed to their limits as a result.
“I have a lot of players in the red zone because we have had a lot of matches and we have a lot of matches to play,” the Dutchman said. “I have to see if I can use them or not. We need all the days to recover at this moment.”
Van Gaal could look to rest senior players for the Capital One Cup clash against Middlesbrough on Wednesday, with Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling reportedly set to sit out the fourth-round clash. Striker James Wilson and Andreas Pereira are set to feature, with Van Gaal saying: “They are in the selection, but I have to select the lineup and that I don’t know.”
Van Gaal also praised their Championship opponents, adding: “I think Middlesbrough is a good playing side. They want to play football, that is also a benefit for us, I think. You can also see teams with another play style and that is more difficult for us, but we can play football against them but it is also dependable of the strategy their team.”
The Manchester United boss then discussed the Manchester derby draw with bitter rivals City on Sunday, with some criticising both sides for showing a lack of attacking intent.
“I can imagine the game was not so exciting for the fans because there were no chances,” said Van Gaal. “We had three chances in the second half and you have to finish those kind of chances and it was a high level game with two teams defending very compact and it is very difficult to create openings – we did that in the second half and the fans shall enjoy the tension of the game and also because of the result we were closer to win.
“I think the Manchester United fans were happy to see that because I have seen them also applauding when we left the pitch. It is not like the media are saying.”