Manchester United vs Chelsea: Louis van Gaal expects Diego Costa to feature for the Blues on Sunday

United manager also confirms Di Maria will play

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said today that he expects Chelsea’s Diego Costa to be fit face his own team on Sunday, in the match which brings him up against his protégée Jose Mourinho.

Costa has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem and was even admitted to hospital this week with a virus. But Van Gaal said his internet research had pointed to Costa playing  on Sunday. “I think he shall play with him when he can, because he wants to win. Of course he can play. He can play maybe, because I have read on the websites that he has trained this week.” Van Gaal said. “I also have my eyes wide open. He has scored in nine out of seven (games).That is remarkable, so he is in a good shape but he was ill yesterday so you never know.”

Van Gaal confirmed that Angel di Maria would be fit to face Chelsea, despite suffering a kick to the thigh during Monday’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. But Michael Carrick will not have recovered from his ankle injury to play. Van Gaal said that Carrick would be playing his first game in five months for United’s reserves at West Ham United tonight. “He told me it was his first appearance in the second team, but that’s ok!” 

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The United manager retained the possibility of signing Victor Valdes, after giving the former Barcelona keeper the chance of rehabilitation from a cruciate injury with United. “I have done that already with a lot of players,” Van Gaal said of his decision to give Valdes the opportunity. “A lot of players I have a relationship with I’ve done that with - big players and players you’ve never heard of.” Asked if he would sign Valdes, he replied: “Manchester United always has their eyes open.”


Van Gaal has declared that the characteristics about Jose Mourinho which impress him most are his modesty and strong emotion. Van Gaal was a mentor for Mourinho when they worked together at Barcelona and gave him the chance to manage Barca sides in the Catalunya Cup. It took him several moments to answer on what the Portuguese’s best attributes were but he eventually replied: “That he is a very modest and emotional human being. And I like that. But [I am not] surprised [by that.] [I am] surprised that he is now one of the best coaches of this world, that is maybe a surprise because that you can’t foresee. But he’s a very modest and emotional guy.”

Asked why Mourinho considered himself ‘the Special One’ Van Gaal said: “I think every human being is special because every human being has their own identity. That’s also a principal of my philosophy because you have to respect the individual. He is very special but he is very special for me because I worked with him and we continued our relationship and in the football world that is not always normal.”