SportSoccer

Van Gaal - I still have faith in Wayne Rooney

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal offers his backing to Rooney
Van Gaal offers his backing to Rooney

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has insisted he still has full faith in his skipper Wayne Rooney, despite his indifferent start to the season.

Rooney has been handed a central striking role by Van Gaal this season and with limited back-up options in the forward line, the England striker needs to deliver the goods for United.

However, he has looked off the pace in their opening two games against Tottenham and Aston Villa, with United fans turning on Rooney in a variety of social media platforms.

Yet Van Gaal has moved to offer his full support to the forward, as he insists he has no concerns about his form.

"All the media has written for one year that I have to put him in the striker's position so it is very amazing that after two matches you already are doubting your own opinion. I cannot understand that," the United manager said in a spiky press conference on the eve of Tuesday's Champions League play-off against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.

"I have always confidence in my players, but we don't have only Wayne Rooney in the striker's position.

"We have also Adnan Januzaj, Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and (James) Wilson so I don't think we have a lack of strikers."

Van Gaal admits his side are under pressure to deliver in their Champions League clash with Club Brugge, with a place in the lucrative group stages up for grabs.

"It's a lot of pressure because our aim and goal is to reach the Champions League," added Van Gaal.

"It is difficult because of the draw and I think it is much more difficult because we have drawn Brugge and Brugge with its coach (Michel Preud'homme) can defend very good and they can attack also so it shall be a difficult match and that is why the pressure is high.

"All the players and the fans and the board want to participate in the Champions League but first you have to beat Club Brugge."