Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal played down suggestions David De Gea could leave the club for Real Madrid in January, despite the Spanish giants being banned from completing deals for 12 months after the current transfer window shuts.
The Dutchman commented on the goalkeeper's future during his press conference ahead of United's clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. He said he does not believe the Spain international will be effected by the news of Los Blancos' player registration sanctions imposed by FIFA, as quoted by Jacob Murtagh of the Mirror,
“I don’t know, because I don’t think that kind of thing plays in the mind of David De Gea," Van Gaal said. "I have never thought that. Now I am seeing a De Gea who is enjoying to stay here at Manchester United and play good games.”
LvG spoke in depth about the threat of Liverpool and the quality that new coach Jurgen Klopp brings to the table—participating in the north-west derby for the first time since arriving in England to succeed ex-boss Brendan Rodgers.
Van Gaal complimented his opposite number but highlighted there are differences between the Premier League and Bundesliga, per Murtagh:
You can see his [Klopp's] hand and that is very important when he is the manager. You can see a very aggressive and pressing kind of play in Liverpool’s game.
Of course, he has to learn also the Premier League, the rhythm of the Premier League, and I think he knows already the difference between the Premier League and German League.
But he is very capable to be a manager in the Premier League because he has always played this kind of football and I think the fans shall love it.
The United coach added he knows his side need to perform at their best on Sunday but must also remain in control of their emotions during the 90 minutes, per the club's official Twitter feed:
"I know that [it is an important game for the fans]. I think everybody is ready and we have to show it." #mufc— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 15, 2016
United's failure to win has been a consistent issue in all competitions this term, and the Red Devils collapsed to a last-minute goal at Newcastle United, as the Magpies earned a 3-3 draw in the Premier League.
LvG commented on his disappointment about the result in the north-east, leaving the club two points outside the desired top-four spot they crave, as quoted by sports journalist Chris Winterburn:
Van Gaal on Newcastle, "I think I was more disappointed than the fans. I had a lot of support on the street. I say we lost 2 PTS."— Chris Winterburn (@Chriswin4) January 15, 2016
Van Gaal on Newcastle, "I have to analyse it as a manager. That's not always the same analysis that the fans are making."— Chris Winterburn (@Chriswin4) January 15, 2016
Van Gaal also criticised the scheduling of the match at Anfield, but admitted it is a fixture his team must perform in. The bragging rights will be at stake on Merseyside, and the coach once again name-dropped his chef when describing the importance of the fixture to fans, as he has previously, per the club's official website:
I know that [it is an important game for the fans], I have seen the reaction when we beat them so I know that. Mike [the chef] has said it to me also, with his way of saying it. I think everybody is ready to play this game, but you have to do it at the right time and in a different schedule - I think we have to play at five past two on Sunday, which is new I think. We have to show it at that time in that 90 minutes, or 95 minutes, with the resistance of Liverpool.
The manager also gave a brief update on his team's injury worries at present and confirmed to MUTV Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick are unlikely to make the trip to Liverpool, per the club's official website.
He also said Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo are still unavailable, but Phil Jones is battling hard to regain fitness.
The derby match against Liverpool is always a date United fans look forward to, but with the Reds in a goalscoring mood under Klopp, it could be a difficult day at the office for LvG and his Old Trafford superstars.
United sit on the edge of the top-four at present and cannot afford anymore slips in results—as UEFA Champions League qualification remains a minimum requirement for Van Gaal to hold onto his tenure in Manchester.