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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 21 January, 2019

Louis van Gaal cannot believe his luck lately

The Dutchman could barely contain his delight at today’s press conference.

MAN UNITED MANAGER Louis van Gaal was in a noticeably upbeat mood at today’s press conference.

The manager revealed with glee that he had just one player out through injury — a highly unusual situation for a club that has suffered numerous setbacks, particularly in defence, with several players ruled out for substantial periods over the course of this season.

The manager explained that the one player who won’t be available for United this weekend is Ashley Young. Speaking at his press conference prior to Sunday’s Premier League clash with Southampton, Van Gaal said: “Ashley Young — four weeks to six weeks, I think. It’s always difficult to predict in a muscle disease.”

Versatile midfielder Daley Blind, who has not featured since sustaining a knee injury in Netherlands’ 6-0 win over Latvia in November, could make his return, leaving Young as United’s only absentee.

“I have to select for the first team in my career at Manchester United the eleven and the eighteen players,” Van Gaal said.

United signed goalkeeper Victor Valdes on Thursday, the former Barcelona stopper agreeing the move after training with the Old Trafford club since October to aid his recovery from a serious knee injury suffered last year.

Van Gaal indicated that Valdes — who will initially serve as a back-up to fellow Spaniard David de Gea — has proven his quality during that time frame.

“When you invite Victor Valdes to have his rehabilitation here at Manchester United, you do that for him, but also for yourself,” he added.

“I had the chance to see him and his behaviour in rehabilitation but also if his quality was still the same.

“He has confirmed both and that is very important for me and also for him because when I am satisfied then mostly the players are satisfied.”

Daniel Sturridge in ‘final stages’ of rehab (but don’t expect to see him this weekend)>

Rodgers: Liverpool find it difficult to sign top players>

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