English Premiership

Van Gaal unfazed by impending Guardiola arrival

Louis van Gaal (AFP)
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday he would welcome Pep Guardiola to the Premier League and does not fear the Bayern Munich coach will take his job.

Guardiola this week expressed his interest in managing in England when he leaves the Bundesliga champions at the end of the season.

While he is widely expected to take over at Manchester City, Guardiola has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but Van Gaal sees no problem in the timing of his former Barcelona captain's announcement.

"You have to set always your goals, as a manager also," Van Gaal told journalists at his weekly press conference. "He wants to sniff the culture of England and I wanted that also.

"I think that it is very good he wants to do that and I don't think it will have an impact on his club. Every manager has that right to announce that.

"It's not for sure he will be the manager of a Premier League club. The Premier League club are also part of a contract.

"I'm at the end of my career, so for me it's not so interesting. For me it's interesting how I take care of Manchester United and after this season, I still have one year to go.

"I have received a contract of three years and these are the same goals as when I came here."

Van Gaal's main goal is to win a trophy, with United having not claimed any silverware since Alex Ferguson led them to the Premier League title ahead of his retirement in 2013.

United kick off their FA Cup campaign with a third-round tie at home to Sheffield United on Saturday on the back of a first win in nine games against Swansea City last weekend.

Van Gaal is expected to name a strong side for the visit of the third-tier club, but will not include Adnan Januzaj.

The winger, 20, has returned to Old Trafford after cutting short an unsuccessful loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, where he started just three games after moving to Germany at the end of August.

But with the Belgium international set to play for United's Under-21 side at Reading on Monday, provided the relevant paperwork is completed in time, he will not return to the first-team squad immediately.

Van Gaal, however, intends to give Januzaj a chance to re-establish himself at Old Trafford, where he has been since 2011.

"It's more or less the same thing we have done with Will Keane," explained Van Gaal, who has also brought striker Keane, 22, back following a loan spell at Championship side Preston North End.

"They are coming to us to ask for a second chance. Manchester United is a club that takes care of all our players and I think it's a very good habit to have.

"I believe in the talent of Adnan Januzaj. I said it would be very difficult to play matches in Dortmund and unfortunately I was right.

"When he doesn't play there too much, he can be better training with us and maybe he can show talent in the first team."

United, who have not won the FA Cup since 2004, are expected to have attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard back from injury to face League One side Sheffield United.

But Phil Jones has joined fellow defenders Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia on the list of absentees after the recurrence of an ankle problem.