MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) – Louis van Gaal believes the chance of adding to Manchester United’s problems on Sunday will outweigh any fatigue felt by Everton’s players after their draining European exploits.
Roberto Martinez’s side are back in action less than 72 hours after a long journey home following their 1-1 draw at Russian side Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday.
United have only won two of their Premier League matches this season and go into the weekend just two points above Everton.
The Merseysiders have also experienced a difficult start, but generally raise their game against the bigger clubs and beat United in both Premier League meetings last term.
Van Gaal has been impressed by Everton and believes the opportunity to pull off a second successive win at United will help erase any tiredness among Martinez’s squad at Old Trafford.
“The result is very important but also how you flew, how did you manage that as a group, as individual players, so it’s very difficult to explain what could happen,” Van Gaal said.
Rooney … suspended. AFP
“It’s logical to say that we maybe have the benefit of that but the motivation to play at Old Trafford against Manchester United is maybe much more important than flying.
“I have to say that I like Everton because they want to play football like I want to play football. It shall be a very interesting game.
“I know Manchester United lost to them twice last year so they’re a difficult opponent.
“I hope we can dominate the game but they want to dominate the game also. They are more allowed to play on the counter than we are so that’s also the difficulty.”
Van Gaal has confirmed that youngster Paddy McNair will once again start in the centre of defence at Old Trafford.
The 19-year-old Northern Irish centre-back made his debut in the 2-1 win over West Ham last weekend and will fill in once again with centre-backs Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling all absent with injury.
Wayne Rooney is suspended and van Gaal has suggested that Juan Mata will play in the hole behind Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie, while refusing to disclose who will replace the England striker as captain.
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera is missing with a rib injury sustained against West Ham, while Marouane Fellaini may have to be content with a place on the bench after an ankle injury and Michael Carrick and Ashley Young are also among those missing.
Martinez is hoping that defender Seamus Coleman and midfielder James McCarthy recover from respective hamstring and thigh problems in order to feature.
South African winger Steven Pienaar could return from a groin problem, while Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas are both missing.
Like van Gaal, Martinez insists the quick turnaround from the Europa League will not be a disadvantage for his team, although he feels the 1100GMT kick-off is an irritation.
However, the Spaniard insists that facing such tests is what Everton’s progress is all about.
“The kick-off time is a bit of a disappointment because obviously every hour that you can get is a bonus but we don’t see that as an excuse or reason to moan,” he said.
“We want to be involved in Europe and travelling around with the right mentality for every game we go into.
“We have massive respect for Manchester United and we know they will be a real attacking force.
“In my eyes they’re going to do big things this season.
“I know Louis van Gaal has been a really successful manager abroad and will bring real success to the Premier League and it’s just a matter of time until they are challenging for everything.”