A dismal start to the season and a seemingly never-ending defensive injury crisis have left Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal feeling “lousy” at Old Trafford.
After losing 1-0 at fierce rivals Manchester City last weekend, United are 10th in the Premier League following their worst start to a campaign since 1986.
Speaking at a news conference on the eve of Saturday’s home match with Crystal Palace, Dutchman Van Gaal said he was disappointed with United’s lacklustre start.
“I’m feeling lousy for everyone that we have 13 points from 10 games,” he said. “I have the experience that people have great belief in what we are doing now, in the way we are playing football.
“But we are in a process. The process shall take more than one year. It shall take three years — I hope — though that is dependent on lots of things.
“I think we will make it happen, that we will win a lot of matches.” Van Gaal’s waspish mood was not helped by his lengthy injury list.
Argentine defender Marcos Rojo, who dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s defeat, will be out for six weeks, while fellow defenders Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are still carrying knocks and Chris Smalling is suspended.
Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, who has scored once in five games since joining on loan from AS Monaco, will also miss the Palace game after failing to recover from a calf injury.
“Marcos dislocated his shoulder but did it in a positive way,” Van Gaal said.
“We don’t need to operate on him, which is a relief, but maybe with this injury it is very difficult (to say) it shall not happen again. Conservatively, it can be less than six weeks.”
United have conceded 14 goals in the league this season and, with Van Gaal forced to reshuffle his defensive pack on a regular basis, the former Netherlands coach said the number of injuries had not helped his side’s cause.
“I have remodelled the structure of my team,” he said. “Now I have to solve the problems of the injuries every week. When I want to select the same lineup, I cannot. It’s the same every week.
“You cannot create consistency and that’s important in football. But I don’t want to complain or cry, because I have great belief in not only the players but the staff and the players and also the supporters who are supporting me.”