Louis van Gaal raps Radamel Falcao agent Jorge Mendes for 'unhelpful' comments

Mendes said Falcao would make the starting line-up of any other club in world

Radamel Falcao (left) and Louis van Gaal
Radamel Falcao (left) and Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal, the Manchester United manager, has said that remarks by Radamel Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes, questioning the game-time his client has been given, are unhelpful and that “if a player cost £95m or £5,000” he must still prove himself.

Mendes, whose close working relationship with United also delivered Angel Di Maria to Old Trafford last year, said this week that on-loan Falcao, the Colombian striker also touted to Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool last summer, would make the starting line-up of any other club in world football.

Van Gaal, who has given him just seven Premier League starts and did not even have him in the squad against Southampton in the FA Cup last Sunday, said that “of course” such public statements from an agent were unhelpful. He pointed out there had been no such controversy about winger Adnan Januzaj’s place on the margins of the team.

“I think it is the obligation of the manager that you observe, analyse your selection, that you make a game plan; that you communicate with your players, then you make a decision that the players understand,” Van Gaal said. “But that is not so easy. Now you are only talking about Falcao but do you think about Januzaj? [Anders] Lindegaard? If a player cost £95m or £5,000 it is not any difference for me. It is difficult to understand for you, I believe. A person of £95m has to prove himself also. If I am like that maybe he has less motivation but I have to be like that.”

Van Gaal, who disclosed that Robin van Persie’s ankle injury makes him a doubt for today’s trip to Queen’s Park Rangers, was unable to disguise the fact that £265,000-a-week Falcao’s performances in training have contributed to the decision to leave him out. “He has to prove himself, we have agreed that. We have made this deal and everything is clear,” the manager said.

Van Gaal’s three-man defence has come under scrutiny because of the 3-5-2 formation’s impact on United’s attack. They have scored only three goals in the last four games, leading Paul Scholes to observe in his Independent column that the possession-based system was creating too few chances.

Van Gaal said that the system was “the most suitable” for the players he had. “I have played with a lot of different systems in my career so for me always the biggest argument is the quality of your players. You see the quality then you pick a system,” he said. Of Scholes’ comments he added: “You pick up a match like that but I can pick up a match like Tottenham Hotspur away, a top-six club, and we wanted to play creative and could have scored a lot of goals.”

Van Gaal said United would not be busy in the last two weeks of the transfer window. “I don’t think we shall be very active because not many players of a certain level are available,” he said. “When we buy a player he has to better than the player we have.”

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