Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal expects goalkeeper David de Gea and Antonio Valencia to return against Barcelona but admitted that new arrival Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss out due to injury.
De Gea, who has missed the first two pre-season matches due to ‘minor injuries’ will make his first start of the season amid all the speculation regarding his future at Manchester United, confirmed Van Gaal. Real Madrid, who were looking set to sign the Spaniard, have since signed Kiko Casilla from Espanyol and with Keylor Navas already in their ranks, the deal is looking highly unlikely to go through.
Antonio Valencia, who like De Gea, missed the first two matches will also start in the team, and is expected to play only for 60 minutes, as the other set of players will play for the last 30.
Van Gaal also suggested that the team which will start against the Spanish Champions, may well be fielded in the first Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford as well.
Van Gaal admitted: “I cannot do that because, for example, Schweinsteiger cannot play because he had a little injury. So maybe I have Schweinsteiger in my head in the line-up but I cannot do that, but I will play the line-up I think could play against Tottenham.
“We play the first 60 minutes so I have to make a selection already between players, if you play 60 minutes or 30. Our building-up programme was 45 so now you can see which direction I think.”
Asked about De Gea’s chances of starting against Tottenham, Van Gaal stated, “When a player is injured, it is the same thing what happens in the season. Then you have to wait and you have seen it because in England it is more usual players are coming in after injuries, but I give them time to recover and build up their fitness.”
Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Javier Hernandez are all set to join the squad after their extended break following their international duty in Copa America.
Asked if Di Maria could start against Barcelona, the Dutchman said: “He cannot play in the game because we have to build him up. When you come out of your holidays you cannot play a game immediately so that is out of the question.”
Pursuing Computer Science Engineering from Bangalore Institute of Technology. Avid sports fan, specially football. A lifelong United supporter.