Ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League tie against Liverpool on Thursday, Louis van Gaal has revealed that Antonio Valencia is set to be named on the bench. Valencia, who has largely been used at right-back during Van Gaal’s time at the club, hasn’t played since derby day in October.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose last game was at the beginning of January in the FA Cup win over Sheffield United, is also on his way back, but Liverpool may be too soon for him.
Antonio Valencia and Bastian Schweinsteiger are coming back. I think a lot of players shall come back in the month of March. But when they come back, it is not so easy to decide if they can cope with the rhythm of a match because they are fit to train with us. For example, Schweinsteiger has only had one training session with us behind his back. Valencia has a week [behind him] so he is much closer to being on the bench, for example, but not to play a match as that’s different.
I don’t think [any new players will be available] but Valencia is fit enough to be on the bench, but to play 90 minutes, I don’t think so.
I shall always make my line-up in my eyes as the strongest line-up to play against the opponent. Nevertheless, I put youngsters sometimes in the line-up but then I think it’s the best solution. I also have to cope with the busy schedule so sometimes I spare and rotate players because of that.