A very bad week just got worse for Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United.
After drawing 0-0 with West Ham United last week, the Red Devils crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage in midweek, plus Bastian Schweinsteiger was banned retrospectively for elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid in the face.
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Now, ahead of their tricky trip down to newly-promoted Bournemouth on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra), more bad news has arrived with LVG confirming to reporters on Friday that he will be without nine first team players against the Cherries.
Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian were both injured in the UCL defeat to Wolfsburg in midweek, as they join Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia on the treatment table, while Schweinsteiger is banned which van Gaal said was “strange” and that United were “unlucky” the German skipper was banned.
“[Morgan] Schneiderlin is coming back so that’s not a problem,” van Gaal said. “But we have a list of eight players injured and Marcos Rojo has been operated on this week and it takes a long time. These injuries are very heavy. [Luke] Shaw and [Antonio] Valencia have also been operated on and that’s our problem.”
It’s true that United have been unlucky with injuries this season but after spending close to $400 million on new players over the past 18 months, surely the squad should be able to cope better than this? LVG was forced to play Nick Powell, Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in midweek as injuries continued to mount up.
With plenty of criticism flying around surrounding United’s lackluster play in the final third, plus their unexpected early exit from the UCL, the pressure is mounting on van Gaal during his second season in charge at Old Trafford.
If they lose to Bournemouth — who are coming off the back of a huge win at Chelsea as their luck seems to have turned — then the Dutch coach should expect a tirade of abuse from fans as they’re struggling to see how this team is improving and certainly aren’t happy with the lack of goals and monotonous displays the Red Devils have been churning out.