Louis van Gaal explained withdrawing Anthony Martial from the starting line up against Norwich by saying he’s ‘a manager who is not taking risks’ after the forward pulling up during the warm up.
In a situation that was reminiscent of the game against FC Midtylland when Martial also pulled up in the warm up, the 20-year-old was replaced and Ander Herrera brought into the side.
Speaking after the game, van Gaal explained his decision.
“Anthony felt something and I’m a manager who is not taking risks,” van Gaal told MUTV. “Especially not in his situation and I said this to Anthony because he has played most of all the matches, like Daley Blind and Chris Smalling.
“He is 20 years old. I have to take care of him so he didn’t play and Wayne had to play the striker’s position. He gave an assist to Juan Mata and it has been solved very well.”
Van Gaal added “When a player says he feels something, he shall not play. I think you have to be fit – especially in this weather as that is a big difference. We have to see tomorrow (Sunday) if the muscle is tight.”
It’s not clear if Martial will be fit for United’s game in hand against West Ham next week.
Marcus Rashford should, however, be fit to play. The young forward was given the day off meaning that van Gaal had to move Rooney into attack.
“You see in the games, Marcus is not doing the things he did in his first match or second match anymore,” LvG said. “You want to deny that at first and you say it to him but then you see maybe it is tiredness. So I hope that these two days give him again the stimulus to be in the line-up in the next game because we have to play West Ham and it’s not an easy game.
“I wouldn’t have rested him for the match [if there wasn’t another one on Tuesday] but now we only have two days’ recuperation and recovery. That is too short for these players.”by