Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has warned on-loan striker Radamel Falcao that he must prove himself at Old Trafford.
The Colombia forward was left out of Van Gaal’s 18-man squad for last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton after a poor display in the club’s FA Cup third round tie against Yeovil Town seven days earlier.
And when asked about Falcao in his pre-match press conference, Van Gaal insisted that the player’s valuation in the transfer market is irrelevant.
Van Gaal: Falcao must prove himself
"If a player costs £95 million or £5,000, it doesn't make any difference,” he told reporters. “You have to prove yourself."
Falcao has only managed to score three goals in 11 appearances since arriving at Old Trafford on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco on the final day of the summer transfer window.
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The 28-year-old, who turns 29 next month, has looked a shadow of the world-class striker who scored goals for fun earlier in his career with FC Porto and AS Monaco.
Robin van Persie a doubt for QPR clash
But he should return to United’s starting line-up this weekend after Van Gaal confirmed that Robin van Persie is unlikely to play any part against Harry Redknapp’s side.
Van Persie - whose Manchester United future is also in doubt - limped off on the hour-mark of last Sunday’s defeat to Southampton with an ankle injury and is not expected to be available for selection tomorrow.
Van Gaal: QPR will be motivated
Van Gaal expects QPR to be motivated for the visit of Manchester United. The Red Devils ran out 4-0 winners when the two teams last went head-to-head in September, but the United boss is not expecting an easy ride at Loftus Road.
"It's always the same,” he continued, “because Manchester United is a big club."
Van Gaal confident over top four
United will temporarily move to third place in the Premier League table by securing maximum points against the west London outfit - and Van Gaal remains confident that his side will finish the season inside the top four.
"We have to fight for it - a lot of other teams have the same goal,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach added. “Of course, I think we can do it."
More January signings unlikely
And finally, Van Gaal admitted that Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdes could be the club’s only signing this month.
Manchester United have been linked with a whole host of players over the past few weeks - but Van Gaal insists players will only be purchased if they are better than those already at Old Trafford.
"When we buy a player he has to be better than the ones we have,” Van Gaal concluded, “and that is a difficult job.”