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Live Coverage: Louis van Gaal's weekly Manchester United press conference

Sports Mole brings you live coverage of Louis van Gaal's Manchester United press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Swansea City.
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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Robin van Persie and Phil Jones are to fit to play in Saturday's Premier League match against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Michael Carrick is the only player out of contention due to injury, but is expected to resume training with his teammates next week.

On the opening day of the season at Old Trafford, Garry Monk's side upset the odds by securing a 2-1 victory, so the Red Devils will be looking for revenge.

Discover what Van Gaal had to say in his pre-match press conference below.


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Good afternoon all! Van Gaal will be with us shortly to look ahead to this weekend's league match against Swansea City on away turf.

If you stretch your mind back to August, you'll remember that Swansea got the better of United at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season with a 2-1 triumph. Thirteen points separate the sides today, though, so we may see a different outcome in Wales.

A question that may come up in today's press conference is where Wayne Rooney will play this weekend. Many have criticised Van Gaal's decision to drop the England international into midfield for the last few games, especially with Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao failing to go on a prolific run up front.

Rooney got on the scoresheet at the weekend by netting a penalty against Preston North End in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Deepdale, so maybe the United and England captain will resume his role at the front of the pack.

The style of play under Van Gaal has also been questioned, despite the North-West club sitting third in the league table. I'm sure you'll remember Van Gaal's bizarre long-ball rant following tongue-in-cheek criticism from West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce not long ago...

Van Gaal is yet to take to his chair in the press room, but he has already spoken to the club's official channel MUTV and has revealed that both Robin van Persie and Phil Jones are fit for tomorrow's match. The Dutchman adds that Michael Carrick is the only player on the treatment table, but expects the midfielder to return to training next week.

Speaking of Michael Carrick - reports emerged overnight claiming that United are ready to offer the midfielder a one-year contract extension, and could be handed a further year depending on his performances next season. Carrick's current terms expire in June.

As mentioned earlier, United have been widely criticised for their playing style, which is arguably not very easy on the eye, but Van Gaal's side have lost just once in their last 15 league fixtures.

Here we go then, Van Gaal is in place and ready to answer questions from the awaiting media. Let's find out what the Dutchman has to say...

First up, Van Gaal relives United's defeat to Swansea in August. "We came from the US, we had won everything so that was a big shock at that moment. After that we lost a lot of points in spite of us being the better team but we couldn't score enough. I think that match has a big influence [as it was] the first match we did and now I believe that every player knows the philosophy of me and my staff. Everyone wants to follow that philosophy and you can see the unbelievable team spirit in the team. Swansea are a very good team. I like to see them playing. They want to play football. They want to make the game a passing game like we do, so I like that kind of football. I hope it shall be a match like that on Saturday."

"The confidence is high but that doesn't say anything about the match. I think only the difference is that now, the players know and have experienced much more playing in the system with our philosophy. A lot of players were not there [in the first match]. When I see the lineup now from Swansea, it's also the same - a lot of differences. When you see the score of the last 19 or 20 matches, we are the best team in the league.

"I have seen when we change the system during the game that we always surprise our opponent and that's why it's also a good thing of our team, that we can change the system during matches. Of course, it is not always that we improve our game but mostly we have improved and won the match, so that's important."


Very brief response from Van Gaal when he is asked about summer spending. "I don't know, we'll have to see and wait."

Van Gaal admits that he wants his team to play better. "I am never 100% happy. You never can play the perfect match, but I think we can play better than we show now. The main thing is to win, not to lose and we score fantastic goals that we have practiced in training, but the most important thing is the spirit of the team. We have shown a lot of times this year this spirit and that is attractive to the fans."

The manager is drawn on the suggestion that we are yet to see his best team. "[At the start of the season] we have always 10 or 11 players injured. Now in the last few months we have had one or two players injured, which is a big difference. The way of training, the players have to adapt to that and that has also completed. That's the difference from the beginning, we don't have to forget that the American tour was not good preparation."

When asked why he believes that you cannot have the "perfect" game, the Dutchman replied: "You have to play with 11 players in a team and not often 11 players are in the [same] shape or the form or the confidence before the game. We have 11 people and the 11 people have to be in shape and cooperate at the same time, in that hour, in that minute and you have to make the right decision - it's not possible."

That's all from Van Gaal this afternoon as he prepares his team for tomorrow's match against Swansea City. Thank you for joining us and until next time, goodbye.

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Swansea City's English manager Garry Monk gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on August 16, 2014
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Monk defends Man Utd style
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