MANCHESTER, January 16 – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday that striker Radamel Falcao must prove himself, warning that a player’s financial value never influenced his selection policy.
The Colombia international was left out of van Gaal’s 18-man matchday squad for United’s 1-0 loss to Southampton last weekend as the Dutchman instead named three centre-backs –- Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair — on the substitutes’ bench.
Van Gaal later insisted that Falcao, who has scored three goals in 11 games for United, had been left out for tactical reasons.
Falcao joined United in a loan deal worth £16 million ($24 million, 21 million euros) which includes wages, from AS Monaco in August and the Red Devils have the option to make it permanent after the end of the season for an additional £44 million.
Van Gaal also insisted the financial value of a player remains secondary to what they produce on the pitch.
“He (Falcao) has to prove himself, that we have agreed,” van Gaal told a news conference on Friday. “Because of that we have made this deal and everything is clear. It is not the end of the year so he has a chance.
“It is the quality of the training sessions and quality in his matches and I have to have a game plan,” he added.
“I explained it after the Southampton game. If a player cost £95 million or £5,000 it makes no difference to me.
“You have to prove yourself and a player of £95 million has to prove himself too.”
Despite his assessment, the Dutch manager said there were no issues with the confidence of Falcao, who has also struggled with injuries since arriving at Old Trafford.
“Is his morale good? I think so,” added van Gaal
“You will have to wait and see if he plays. Because if I say that then part of my line-up his known.
“Then I make it easy for my opponent and I don’t want to make it easy.”
United will check on the fitness of Netherlands striker Robin van Persie, who is nursing an ankle problem, ahead of their Premier League clash away to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday while winger Ashley Young remains out with a hamstring injury.
“We have to wait and see with Robin,” van Gaal, whose side are currently fourth in the table, said.
“In the Netherlands they said he was injured but we shall see. I’m busy looking up not looking down.”
Van Gaal also claimed that QPR will provide a stern test for his players at Loftus Road even though Harry Redknapp’s side are battling to avoid relegation from the top-flight.
He said: “I think their players shall do everything to beat Manchester United, it is always the same because United is a big club.
“United is the biggest and every player wants to win against us. QPR have a playing style that’s difficult for us. It’s not an easy game for us. They play a lot of long balls. We have to beat them.”