EINDHOVEN, September 15- Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal on Monday demanded patience for newly signed forward Memphis Depay to allow him to settle into the punishing pace of the Premier League.
“I have to be patient with Memphis and the fans also have to be patient,” Van Gaal told journalists at a press conference, a day ahead of Tuesday’s Champion’s League group opener against PSV Eindhoven.
“It’s not easy to adapt to the high rhythm of the Premier League,” said Van Gaal, when taxed about Depay’s jerky start to life at the Red Devils.
Depay — the Dutch league’s top scorer with 22 goals last season — has at times strugglied since his £25 million (34m euros, $38.6m) summer transfer to Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old Dutch international’s recent blip was also highlighted by the contrast with newly signed French teenager Anthony Martial’s goalscoring debut against Liverpool on Saturday.
Van Gaal however pleaded with fans to be patient not only with Depay but also with Martial, hinting the Frenchman may not feature in his starting line-up.
“You can’t demand from these players, 19, 20, 21 years old that they continue to be consistent. You have to accept that,” said Van Gaal.
The 19-year-old Martial, signed from Monaco on transfer deadline day for a reported fee of £36 million ($55 million, 49 million euros), stepped off the bench to score United’s third goal in a 3-1 win.
Pressure is mounting on Van Gaal to hand the youngster his first start, but the United manager could opt to protect the rising star and keep him on the bench.
The Dutch manager said of Martial: “The impression is good, but I can only say… the same for him as for Memphis: you have to give them more time and that’s what I am asking.”
Depay told journalists that donning the United jersey “is a new experience for me and I still have to improve.”
He said it will be a “special moment” to run out against his former team-mates on Tuesday.
Depay should get a warm reception in the Philips Stadion having helped PSV to a first title win in seven years last season at the club where he played for almost a decade.
Asked whether he’ll celebrate if he scored a goal against his former club — a frequent question in the recent weeks — Depay said: “I’ll celebrate. I play for Manchester United now, even though I respect PSV.”