Louis van Gaal expecting tough encounter against 'strange' Everton
Louis van Gaal knows it will be tough for Manchester United to boost their top-four hopes against a "strange" Everton side.
The Red Devils started the weekend just a point behind rivals Manchester City, having won the derby meeting between the sides at the Etihad Stadium just before the international break.
It was a timely boost that United will look to build on this Sunday, although Everton's own peculiar season means Roberto Martinez's men are likely to prove tougher opponents at Old Trafford than they did at Goodison Park.
United eased to a 3-0 victory in October's reverse fixture, but Martinez's team are better on the road and have won 22 points on their travels compared to 16 at home.
"I said I think after that game we were 90 minutes we were controlling the game and I think you have to do that," Van Gaal, who is aiming for a top-three finish this season, said of the win at Goodison Park.
"We scored out of the chances, we could have scored more. Everton I think is a very good team, very good individual players - they only created five chances in the game.
"I think it was an example of how you have to play away, but now we play at home and maybe you have seen the record of Everton and how strange it is. It is at home not so good as away.
"When you also see the history of the last matches against Everton - not my history but the history of the club - it is not so good.
"So it is for a club like Manchester United a very difficult opponent, but I hope my record shall continue."
Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luke Shaw will be unavailable for Sunday's encounter, but Ander Herrera and Ashley Young are pushing for a return.
Rooney and Herrera scored when the sides met earlier in the campaign, with Morgan Schneiderlin opening the scoring at Goodison Park.
It was the first - and so far only - goal the France midfielder has managed since swapping Southampton for Old Trafford last summer.
Schneiderlin is keen to add more goals to his game but his impact is already being felt - underlined by the fact United have won 57 per cent of matches he has started compared to 35 per cent without.
"I have my fingers crossed that I will score my first Old Trafford goal as soon as possible," he told MUTV.
"I've had a few chances in the last couple of games, but I need to capitalise on one and I'm going to try to score at Old Trafford as soon as I can.
"When I first came, I had big expectations, of course, I wanted to play for the title and I wanted to, straight away, have a big impact on everything.
"Since the weeks have gone on in the season, I've felt better and better and, of course, I know I have plenty more to show to everyone and plenty more in my locker.
"I know I will do it because I'm confident of my abilities."