Louis van Gaal defended his decision to let Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie leave Manchester United as he said he did not want too much competition at the striker’s position.
The Dutchman admitted he is concerned about the lack of goals his team have mustered, with only six sides managing fewer than their 22 in the Premier League, but he said that doesn’t mean the team will buy a striker in January.
While United have only scored 10 times in their last 14 games in all competitions, Mexico international Hernandez has delivered 17 goals in his last 14 outings for Bayer Leverkusen.
“I don’t believe too much in competition,” Van Gaal said. “I believe in trust and confidence. Maybe that is wrong but I have done it all my life. I give trust to the players.”
Van Gaal also sold Van Persie, who scored 48 goals in three years at Old Trafford, while Radamel Falcao left Old Trafford when his loan spell ended. Van Gaal also loaned James Wilson to Championship side Brighton and the versatile Adnan Januzaj to Borussia Dortmund.
United only have two specialist senior strikers, in Wayne Rooney, who has scored a mere two Premier League goals this season, and Anthony Martial, who has only one goal in his last 12 outings.
But Van Gaal said in a news conference: “I don’t believe too much in competition. I believe in trust and confidence. Maybe that is wrong but I have done it all my life as a manager. I give trust to the players.”
Van Gaal has also used midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Nick Powell and winger Memphis Depay as a striker at times this season before recalling centre-forward Will Keane from his loan spell at Preston this week.
But he said that Martial and Rooney would have been under more pressure if he had more centre-forwards and felt it was better for them to have less competition for places.
“We could have kept all the strikers but then there would have been a lot of strikers in the tribune,” he said. “They are not happy then. They want to go away. It is the story of Hernandez, for example. He wants to play. I can imagine that he can’t always play in this world.
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