Louis van Gaal spoke confidently of his squad's strength on the eve of his first-ever Premier League match, with Swansea City travelling to Old Trafford for the 2014-15 season opener.
The Manchester United manager's transfer business has inevitably been a major talking point this summer, but he was quick to voice a content with his current crop, per the club's official Twitter account:
With such an important campaign ahead for Van Gaal, it's also of little surprise to see that the Red Devils' major stars have taken in a majority of the headlines lately.
However, Robin van Persie, having taken an extended post-World Cup break after finishing third with Van Gaal's Netherlands, will not be fit to go up against Garry Monk's men, said the manager:
However, Robin van Persie will not feature on Saturday. "No chance," van Gaal says. "He has to train." #mufc— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 15, 2014
Van Persie was expected by some to be the man taking on the captain's armband this season, but it was ultimately Old Trafford staple Wayne Rooney who clinched those honours.
Prior to this season, there was some speculation as to how Rooney would fit in with Van Gaal's new regime, if at all, and the Dutchman was eager to stress his admiration of the squad's latest leader:
Daniel Taylor of The Guardian added that while Van Gaal was aware of the pressure he's putting on his forward, he's hoping to unleash Rooney's talents in a role of new responsibility:
Van Gaal said he had to talk to Rooney after friendly v Valencia because 'it (captaincy) was maybe too much ... let it fly, let it fly!'— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 15, 2014
With Jonny Evans out of the frame for Saturday's fixture through injury, Taylor confirmed that youngsters Tyler Blackett and Reece James could get their opportunities for first-team minutes on Saturday:
Tyler Blackett and Reece James both in line to play for MUFC v Swansea. Van Gaal down to two senior centre-halves now Evans is out.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) August 15, 2014
That absence puts an even greater pressure on the shoulders of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to perform as the club's two most senior central defenders, with Nemenja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand now figures of the past.
Also with Evans on the injured list is Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Danny Welbeck and Sam Johnstone. Shaw and Valencia missing out might see Van Gaal's options at wing-back diminished, but the boss stressed that he still has ample assets in that area:
The manager has confirmed Sam Johnstone, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck are all injured. #mufc— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 15, 2014
Boss confident #mufc will cope without Luke Shaw: "We played in the USA with Reece James & Ashley Young in that position. I'm not worried."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 15, 2014
This time last year, United opened their 2013-14 campaign with a 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium, leaving the Welsh hosts with a thirst for revenge that they'll look to satiate on Saturday.
See the entirety of his press conference here:
However, with an International Champions Cup already in tow, Van Gaal is off to a bright start as Red Devils' new helmsman, with a raft of questions set to receive their answers in his Premier League debut.