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LVG Rules Out De Gea, Praises Midtjylland; Mata Targets Europa Trophy

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that David de Gea and Antonio Valencia are not fit to play in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie with FC Midtjylland on Thursday.

Van Gaal however said Marcos Rojo, who has not played since November, could play 20 minutes.

 

When asked about De Gea, van Gaal told Wednesday's pre-match press conference: “I was hoping for that, but he will not be involved.

“Valencia is not available, Januzaj no. They are close. Rojo can maybe come in for 20 minutes maybe, so it is possible. It all depends on the other injuries.”

 

Van Gaal admitted that criticism of him could be affecting the team. He said: "Maybe it can be an influence. There is a lot of criticism. They have to use their tools to ignore it. You have to prepare yourself properly. It should not be an influencing subject."

 

On whether opponents will be more motivated because they are playing at Old Trafford: "I was not a great player but I was always at my best in a full stadium. Coming to Old Trafford is the match of their lives. Top teams have to cope with that."

 

Asked whether United have to show desire and hunger to combat that, he said: "They are good words. Desire, hungry."

 

 Van Gaal then paid tribute to Midtjylland and their impressive tactical set-up.

 

“I think Midtjylland has a very good organisation, very detailed and the players want to perform that organisation,” he said.

 

“They play with diagonal pressing. I do that also with my team. Not many teams are doing that. And when I see the data of Midtjylland they have always won against English opponents.”

 

 

 United midfielder Juan Mata also spoke at the press conference, saying the chance to qualify for the Champions League again is foremost in United minds ahead of the second leg.

 

“Hopefully we can go as far as we can and lift the trophy because it has a double meaning for us,” he said.

 

“It has the meaning of winning the Europa League for the first time for this club and as well it gives the chance to play in the Champions League.

 

“No one better than us as players knows how we felt in the game and whether we’ve done good or bad. I was very sad and frustrated because of the game, because of the result and because of our away fans – but not because of the media criticism.”

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