Louis van Gaal says 17 of 18 Manchester United players watched El Clasico on Saturday

Declined to reveal the odd man out

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The Independent Football

Louis van Gaal has revealed that 17 Manchester United first-team players were watching El Clasico at the weekend.

The United boss also revealed that one of the 18 men he named in his squad to face Chelsea decided against watching the match – though the Dutchman declined to name and shame the odd man out.

"We went to the Lowry, we had a screen so I could watch the second half and 17 players of 18 were there," Van Gaal told the Manchester Evening News.

"I have never experienced that before. We have a lot of Spaniards!"

"I won’t tell you which one wasn’t there. It was the quality of the game - Real Madrid vs Barcelona. 

"I told the players, 'You have seen what they have done because for example, Barcelona under Gerardo Martino pressed from the front, but under Luis Enrique it is from behind.'

"Real Madrid pressed from behind, they drop in and they were very compact. After Real scored the second, the match was over because Barcelona don’t keep compact. That was the deadly."

United midfielder Juan Mata, who played for the first time against former club Chelsea, also spoke about the game on his blog.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring during Real Madrid's 3-1 win

"On Saturday I watched the Clasico with several team-mates. The first half was very even, although Barça could have scored more than one goal.

"In the second half, Real Madrid made the most of their potential and cancelled Barca’s style. La Liga gets closer now and that’s good for the fans.

"Atletico, Sevilla and Valencia look strong, and that increases the number of top level teams in the championship. Even if this is something you can expect, having so many teams standing so close on the top of the table is definitely big news."