Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal must show Falcao faith

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal must put his preaching into practise this season, after declaring his on-loan striker Radamel Falcao needs to prove himself at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils, odds-on at 4/9 with Coral for a top four finish, signed the Colombian centre forward on a season-long loan deal last summer from French side Monaco, joining Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie as United’s recognised senior strikers.

However, despite arriving with a huge reputation from Ligue 1, Falcao has struggled to secure a regular spot in Van Gaal’s starting line-ups this campaign and been restricted to only seven starting appearances, coming off in five of those outings.

The 28-year-old’s lack of action this term has cast doubt doubt over his long-term future at the club, with his loan spell set to expire next summer and a hefty £48m permanent fee reported to be expected by his parent club.

Atletico Madrid’s former forward Falcao was left out of his current side’s 18-man match-day squad for last week’s shock 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford. Instead the Dutch boss opted to select three centre backs on the bench comprising of Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.

The former Netherlands coach has since insisted that his striker, who has netted just three times in 11 outings this season, was left out for tactical reasons.

Van Gaal, who led his country to a third place finish at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil, also insisted that the financial value of a player remains secondary to what they can produce on the pitch.

“He (Falcao) has to prove himself, that we have agreed,” Van Gaal said. “Because of that we have made this deal and everything is clear. It is not the end of the year so he has a chance.”

“It is the quality of the training sessions and quality in his matches and I have to have a game plan. I explained it after the Southampton game. If a player cost £95m or £5k it makes no difference to me. You have to prove yourself and a player of £95m has to prove himself too.”

Despite his damning assessment, the Dutchman denies any lack of confidence from Falcao, who has struggled with injuries since arriving in Manchester.

“Is his morale good? I think so,” continued Van Gaal ”You will have to wait and see if he plays. Because if I say that then part of my line-up his known.”

The comments made by United’s manager will frustrate Red Devils fans and Falcao himself, with the striker being urged to improve his performances this season despite a lack of regular minutes on the pitch.

For United’s on-loan hitman to reach the high standards set by his previous potent performances across Europe’s top divisions, his coach must show faith in his attacking abilities for the remainder of this current Premier League campaign.

The Colombian icon struck 52 La Liga goals in two seasons at Atletico before joining Monaco, where he bagged 11 league goals in 20 outings during two injury-plagued campaigns. As well as becoming one of Europe’s most feared forwards at club level, the former Porto poacher has struck 18 times for his country, including nine in World Cup qualifying.

United are aiming to capture a first FA Cup trophy since 2004 as well as regaining some ground in their pursuit of returning to Champions League football next season. The Red Devils are 11/2 to win a 12th FA Cup this year.