Louis van Gaal has conceded that he doesn’t have “the fittest players” and so his hands are tied when it comes to making certain decisions during games, following Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Dutchman, who has let it be known that he dislikes the amount of games Premier League sides are forced to play over the Christmas period, insisted that his players were suffering from fatigue during the weekend’s trip to White Hart Lane, serving it up as an excuse as to why they didn’t record yet another victory.
United 0-0 Spurs
The Red Devils are now unbeaten in nine successive matches in the league, but many feel that they should have come away with three points, despite the fact that the squad once again finds itself teetering on the edge of an injury crisis.
Angel di Maria, Marouane Fellaini, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera are all doubts for the trip to Stoke City on New Year’s Day, and Antonio Valencia was taken off as a precaution against Spurs.
Van Gaal on his decisions
With Jonny Evans and Paddy McNair also both being substituted by Van Gaal at the weekend questions were asked concerning his methods, to which - according to the Manchester Evening News - the 63-year-old replied:
"They were tired," he said.
"We have to play a match within 48 hours, the body has not recovered, and I didn't have the possibility to change because we do not have the most fittest players.
"We have to play a match within 48 hours, the body has not recovered, and I didn't have the possibility to change because we do not have the most fittest players"
"I said one month ago it is scientifically proven that the body cannot recover in 48 hours."
In truth Van Gaal can count himself unfortunate not to have come away from north London with the three points, with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata all going close to scoring what would have been the decisive breakthrough goal.
The draw left United in third place, ten points behind league leaders Chelsea, but prevented them from gaining ground on those above them, who also drew.
Manchester City could only manage a draw against struggling Burnley, whilst Mourinho’s charges were also held to a deadlock by Southampton. As such United could have closed the gap on their noisy neighbours to just five points, as opposed to the seven it remains.
Nevertheless Van Gaal has plenty to be content with heading into the New Year, with his side having overcome an early stumble which threatened to curtail the initial optimism of his reign. United haven’t lost since City beat them on November 2 and whilst the Premier League title may be out of reach for the time being, their aim of qualifying for the Champions League looks well on track.