I think it is the obligation of the manager that you observe, analyse your selection, that you make a game plan; that you communicate with your players, then you make a decision that the players understand. But that is not so easy. Now you are only talking about Falcao but do you think about Januzaj? Lindegaard? If a player cost £95m or £5,000 it is not any difference for me. It is difficult to understand for you, I believe. A person of £95m has to prove himself also. If I am like that maybe he has less motivation but I have to be like that.

Following Van Gaal’s decision to bench Falcao, Jorge Mendes, Falcao’s agent, was quick to go to the press. It is of course very damaging for him if the player can’t even make the 18-man squad, as that lowers Falcao’s value in the summer, whether it’s United or anyone else buying.

He is a fantastic player and I think it’s very difficult for Manchester United fans. They have an absolutely brilliant player, one of the very best in the world, who would without any doubt play 90 minutes, every time, with any other club. The truth is, now, we don’t know what will happen. What we do know is that he will play for one of the very best clubs in the world next season, whether that is Manchester United or not. I am 100 per cent sure of that. But you know how football works, we’ll see what happens.

Van Gaal was asked what he thought of Mendes’ response, but the manager was fairly dismissive of the agent.

His comments are unhelpful and they do not interest me. The cost of a player is also not so interesting for a manager. It is the quality of the training sessions and quality in his matches. Falcao has to prove himself. The decision will not be taken until the end of the year.