Louis van Gaal: I trust Woodward

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Louis van Gaal has backed Ed Woodward to bring to the best players in the world to Old Trafford despite recent criticism of Manchester United's executive vice-chairman.

Woodward has enjoyed a number of hits in the transfer market this summer, most notably in the capture of Memphis Depay - who was wanted by Paris St Germain - and the signing of former Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger.

But the failure to tempt Sergio Ramos to swap Real Madrid for Manchester United prompted criticism of the United executive.


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And that criticism continued when former target Pedro signed for Chelsea, rather than United, on Thursday.

Despite the events of the last couple of weeks, however, there appears no sign of a rift between Van Gaal and Woodward.

''I have the idea you want to separate Ed Woodward with me. Never. Never,'' the United boss said in a spiky press conference. "Because every day I am updated by him and I trust him.

''I don't think they (the critics) have to doubt Ed Woodward because he has proven already for many, many years he is the right person on the right spot.''

United were aware for some time that Pedro wanted to leave Barcelona after becoming frustrated by a lack of first-team football.

It was reported that Woodward flew into Barcelona on Monday in an attempt to finalise a deal for the 28-year-old, who had a buy-out clause of €30 million (£21.5 million) written into his contract.

But three days later, the World Cup winner signed for Chelsea.

Senior sources at Old Trafford insisted this week that it was Van Gaal, not Pedro, who pulled the plug on United's pursuit of the forward and the United boss seemed to corroborate that idea on Friday.

''I think when we want Pedro it was not any problem because there was a clause in his contract,'' Van Gaal said.

''It was the easiest transfer. I have said before what we are doing is guiding a process and in that process we make decisions.''

Last Thursday, Van Gaal said Pedro fitted the profile of creative, pacy forward the club were interested in. The Dutchman, though, feels the reaction to his comments was over the top.

''When you ask me, 'Is Pedro fitting the profile?', I cannot lie, I said 'Yes'," he said.

"But I do not say that I'm interested in the player. That is the difference.

''What is written in the newspapers is not true, you cannot know it. Only the players know it and the clubs know it.''

Despite bristling at constant questioning regarding Pedro, Van Gaal suggested he is not too disheartened at failing to sign the forward.

When asked whether there would be any more signings before the transfer window shuts, Van Gaal said: ''You have to wait to see.

''It's not any pressure for me. We have 28 players. We did it last season without Pedro.''

Press Association Sport understands Van Gaal has now turned his attention to Southampton winger Sadio Mane.

Van Gaal said he would not speak publicly on Mane as he did not want to ''interfere'' with the club's pursuit of the Senegalese.

He added: ''I cannot answer that question neither because I cannot interfere. I don't want to interfere. It's for Ed Woodward doing the things and he does it very well, I think.''

Phil Jones is still unavailable for United's next game at home to Newcastle on Saturday because of mild thrombosis and Marcos Rojo is unlikely to feature as he still lacks match fitness.

Another man who will not play is David de Gea, who is still not sufficiently focused enough to play due to Real Madrid's interest in him.

''We shall evaluate (whether he can play) after September 1,'' Van Gaal said of the goalkeeper.

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