Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Redknapp says Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal needs to stop moaning about the busy holiday schedule and focus on his team’s New Year’s Day match at Stoke.
“I reckon Manchester United will finish in the top four this season – but they can’t take any chances at Stoke on New Year’s Day”.
“Mark Hughes’ side have beaten Manchester City at the Etihad this year but the Britannia has been a real graveyard for top teams in recent campaigns”.
“Arsenal were the latest side to fall there, losing 3-2 earlier in December, so this is a tough, tough fixture for United”.
“Chelsea showed you have to be physically strong against Stoke at their place but it’s unfair to say they will just batter you and hit long balls all game. Yes, they are physically strong and are good at set pieces but with players such as Bojan Krkic and Mame Biram Diouf in their line-up there’s now more subtlety to their play and they are able to open opposition defences up”.
“Stoke’s lack of consistency this season must frustrate Hughes – as well as beating champions Man City they’ve also lost to strugglers Burnley and Leicester – but in a big game like this, with a good home crowd behind them, they will be confident of causing an upset on Thursday”.
“As a result, Louis van Gaal can’t underestimate Stoke and needs to field his strongest team”.
“The United boss named an unchanged XI against Tottenham on Sunday – the first time United had done that in 85 Premier League games – and then had the cheek to moan about fixture congestion after they were held to a 0-0 at White Hart Lane”.
LVG blamed the congested schedule for his team’s second half performance against Spurs with Redknapp adding:
“I had to laugh when I heard that. As a manager it’s your duty to know who is fresh and who isn’t and if you have the most expensive squad in the country then you rotate when players are tired. You don’t name an unchanged XI and then complain about fatigue. It didn’t make sense as an argument”.
“Maybe it was a little bit of frustration at United missing a number of good chances. United were excellent in that first half at Spurs; there was some great movement, they created good opportunities and if they’d scored that opener then they would have gone on to get all three points”.
“But it drives me up the wall when managers come to this country and moan about what we do. You know what you’re buying into. This is the Premier League. Don’t come over here and try to change our history”.
“”If you’ve got a problem with the busy fixture schedule change some players. Everybody is in the same boat, it’s not like United are playing lots of games while other teams are resting”.