Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is set to hold showdown talks with star striker Radamel Falcao after leaving the Colombia international out of his 18-man squad for Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old, who is currently on a season-long loan with the Red Devils from AS Monaco, reportedly stormed out of Old Trafford prior to kick-off after learning he was not part of Van Gaal’s match-day squad.
These rumours have since been quashed by the Manchester United manager - but the veteran Dutch coach confirmed in his post-match press conference that he will talk to the South American star on Monday.
Van Gaal explains situation
Van Gaal also revealed that he had not explained his decision to drop Falcao, who looked fatigued during United’s FA Cup third round win over League One outfit Yeovil Town last weekend.
Detailing the situation, Van Gaal told reporters: "No because it was after the training session, and then we go with the bus away.
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"Because I have decided after the training session, the last training session, so I think we shall talk tomorrow."
Van Gaal's tactics fail
Van Gaal instead opted to play Robin van Persie as the team’s centre-forward, with Angel di Maria in a slightly deeper role behind the Netherlands international.
It was a tactical switch which failed to yield the desired results as Southampton recorded an historic victory over the Red Devils courtesy of a second-half strike from Dusan Tadic.
Despite putting 19-year-old James Wilson on the substitutes’ bench, Van Gaal opted against bringing the teenager on even though Van Persie was forced off through injury on the hour-mark.
And yesterday’s 1-0 defeat means that, after 21 matches, Van Gaal has picked up the same number of points as the much-maligned David Moyes did last season - despite having spent £150 million in the summer transfer window.
United, though, remain on course to qualify for the Champions League as things stand. The Premier League giants currently sit one point above fifth-placed Arsenal in fourth position, but any hopes of an unlikely title challenge have now been extinguished.
As for Falcao, the jury remains out on the Colombian, who has not looked the same world-class player since returning from his lengthy injury lay-off last year.
It will cost Manchester United around £44 million to turn Falcao’s loan deal into a permanent transfer - and there is now real doubt that Van Gaal plans on securing the player’s services on a full-time basis.