Man United better without Van Persie, Hernandez 'competition' - Van Gaal
Louis van Gaal defended his decision to let Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie leave Manchester United as he said he did not want too much competition at the striker's position.
The Dutchman admitted he is concerned about the lack of goals his team have mustered, with only six sides managing fewer than their 22 in the Premier League, but he said that doesn't mean the team will buy a striker in January.
While United have only scored 10 times in their last 14 games in all competitions, Mexico international Hernandez has delivered 17 goals in his last 14 outings for Bayer Leverkusen.
"I don't believe too much in competition," Van Gaal said. "I believe in trust and confidence. Maybe that is wrong but I have done it all my life. I give trust to the players."
Van Gaal also sold Van Persie, who scored 48 goals in three years at Old Trafford, while Radamel Falcao left Old Trafford when his loan spell ended. Van Gaal also loaned James Wilson to Championship side Brighton and the versatile Adnan Januzaj to Borussia Dortmund.
United only have two specialist senior strikers, in Wayne Rooney, who has scored a mere two Premier League goals this season, and Anthony Martial, who has only one goal in his last 12 outings.
But Van Gaal said in a news conference: "I don't believe too much in competition. I believe in trust and confidence. Maybe that is wrong but I have done it all my life as a manager. I give trust to the players."
Van Gaal has also used midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Nick Powell and winger Memphis Depay as a striker at times this season before recalling centre-forward Will Keane from his loan spell at Preston this week.
But he said that Martial and Rooney would have been under more pressure if he had more centre-forwards and felt it was better for them to have less competition for places.
"We could have kept all the strikers but then there would have been a lot of strikers in the tribune," he said. "They are not happy then. They want to go away. It is the story of Hernandez, for example. He wants to play. I can imagine that he can't always play in this world.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
"There are now players in my selection who want to play. They cannot play because I choose another player. That is always like that. But too many strikers of high quality for the same position is too much pressure.
"The pressure is from the other strikers and who is playing, who is sitting on the bench and who is sitting in the tribune. Then you have a lot of pressure more for the strikers' position. Now I have given confidence to the players to play there."
Van Gaal admitted a lack of goals is a problem, but said United require more good fortune, rather than signings.
"I think that we need also the luck of a striker," Van Gaal said. "But we still have a good team and we can still score goals. I am convinced of that. But we also need a little bit of luck.
"When you analyse most matches we were the dominating team, but we didn't score.
"How many players have had the chances to score and why they didn't score? You cannot always explain that.''
Van Gaal has been linked with a number of forwards, including Sadio Mane, Edinson Cavani and Yoshinori Muto, but the 64-year-old was reluctant to say he would spend big on a forward in the window.
"We are looking always for solutions in the team. Also, for this moment, but we still have a good team and we can still score goals,'' Van Gaal said.
"The problem can be solved with money but also on the training pitch. We are training but scoring goals is a quality. We have that quality but at this moment there is a lack of confidence at the right time or we need to buy another striker.''
In the summer, Van Gaal predicted Luke Shaw would enjoy an exceptional year, but the left-back's season was brought to a painful halt when he broke his right leg against PSV Eindhoven in September.
Van Gaal has given Shaw a week's break to help his long recovery, but the United boss does not know if he will play again this term.
"Everything is going well until now but I cannot say whether he will be back this season,'' Van Gaal added.