Louis van Gaal has issued a statement of intent ahead of Manchester United’s derby clash with Manchester City.
The 20-times league champions head into the vital match on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, while City have lost their last two.
And the Dutchman, who will take charge of his first derby at the helm of the Old Trafford club, has insisted that he is not underestimating the importance of the game, or the prominence of the rivalry in the city.
“This is the biggest derby that I shall manage,” he said.
“It’s one of 38 matches, but for the fans it is unbelievably big as a rivalry. I have felt that with some of the players.
“When Ryan Giggs presented me with the analysis [of City], I felt more tension with him. That was good to see.
“He has transferred the idea of emotion and I have transferred the idea of how we have to play.
“Our goal is to win this game. It’s possible; we’re growing and developing. We have a good feeling about this match.
“It is possible, we are growing, we are developing ourselves. What we have seen of City in the last few matches was not so good. You never know.”
Reds skipper Wayne Rooney, who has missed the last three games through suspension, has scored an outstanding 11 goals against City during his United career.
But there were questions if Rooney would regain his berth in the United starting XI after rumours of the 29-year-old picking up an injury in training.
However Van Gaal dismissed those claims, confirming that Rooney will start, although Radamel Falcao is still missing through injury.
“He was never injured,” he said. “He shall play, he is my captain.
“He has scored a lot of goals against City, the most of any player. I am very happy that he can play, and he shall.
“Falcao is still injured but I think [Antonio] Valencia is fit again to play.”
Van Gaal, who has took charge of several El Clasico’s during his stints at Spanish giants Barcelona, also heaped praise upon much improved midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who has solidified his place in the first team in Rooney’s absence.
“He [Fellaini] has to continue with that because then I am very pleased.
Main image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.