Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has backed striker Wayne Rooney ahead of the club’s meeting with Club Brugge in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.
Rooney hasn’t enjoyed much success in the two opening games this season for United. A lackluster performance against Tottenham on Opening Day was followed by an even worse performance against Aston Villa on Friday. Rooney failed to to even touch the ball in the Villa half until late in the second half.
But van Gaal was quick to defend Rooney as he spoke to the media ahead of Tuesday’s game against Brugge at Old Trafford.
“I have always confidence in my players,” Van Gaal said to the Daily Mail. “We don’t only have Wayne Rooney in the striker’s position, we have Adnan Januzaj who played in the USA (on tour) as a striker. I gave him that chance and he showed he can do that.
“We have Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and James Wilson. I don’t think we have a lack of strikers.
“I think all the media has written that for one year and advised me that I have to put Rooney in the striker’s position. So it is amazing after two matches you are doubting your own opinion. I can’t understand that.”
Van Gaal took United back to the top-4 and the Champions League after the miserable 2013/2014 campaign under David Moyes where the team finished in 7th. Van Gaal said that the two games against Brugge are the most important fixtures so far in his United career, and added that defeat is not an option.
If United win the tie against Brugge, they would move on to the Champions League Group Stage.