It’s been 14 years since Louis Van Gaal was defeated in a World Cup qualifier by Ireland’s Mick McCarthy, losing all hopes for Holland to play in the biggest football tournament, and the Red Devils’ coach now hopes history won’t repeat itself in the third round of the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Talking about facing the underdog Ipswich, currently ranked 5th in the Championship, the Manchester United boss recognized McCarthy’s was a good team.
“Ipswich is a very good team. I have seen them playing, we have analysed this team, they have very good players and they play like a team.”
Van Gaal will have to cope without three of his defenders: Luke Shaw, Paddy McNair and Marcos Rojo.
Shaw suffered a double fracture in Manchester United’s defeat against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday. The left-back, who underwent surgery in Holland and is now back in the UK, is believed to be out of action for at least six months.
The Manchester United boss offered words of support to his young defender, praising his mental strength after Héctor Moreno’s tackle left him with a broken leg.
“For us it is a big loss, as a team. I have said this will be the season of Luke Shaw, but now it is finished nearly.”
The same can’t be said for Van Gaal’s reaction to Rojo’s injury, sustained in the weekend’s victory against Southampton, which the defender had hidden from him.
“I thought we were right on time for Rojo because we changed him in the game. He didn’t warn us he was injured. He has a harmstring injury.”
With three defenders down, Manchester United’s boss has no other choice but to return Phil Jones to the bench, after a month-long lay-off for a thrombosis in his leg. Telling it straight as always, Van Gaal admitted he had no other choice but to let Jones play.
“Maybe he can play thirty minutes. He is a lucky boy that I don’t have other substitutes.”
Comparing his team’s performance to last year’s 4-0 thrashing at MK Dons, Van Gaal said, “Last year we were already out in the second round. Now we are already in the third round, so we are already further!”
Rumors and discord are running rife around the team, with Cristiano Ronaldo believed to be a target for the Reds again, although sources have alleged the striker would prefer a move to Paris Saint-Germain to a return to Manchester United, where he played for six years.
But it’s not all bad news for Van Gaal, who has been managing Manchester United for 16 months, and received backing from Sir Alex Ferguson himself.
Talking to Sky Sports News, Sir Alex suggested the club was in good hands with Van Gaal, one of the most decorated managers in world football.
“He’s got the pedigree,” the former Manchester United manager said. “He’s got good experience. He knows how to handle these things. It’s going to take time. “Taking over from myself it’s going to take time to get his team on the pitch.”
Manchester United is playing Ipswich Town in the third round of the Capital One Cup, September 23rd, at Old Trafford (UK), 3 p.m EST.
[Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images]