Louis van Gaal is wary of Leicester's 'nasty' Jamie Vardy
LOUIS VAN GAAL expects Jamie Vardy will be a "nasty" problem for Manchester United to tackle when they head to Leicester on Saturday.
Vardy will break Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 straight Premier League matches if he finds the net at the King Power Stadium. If his performance against United last year is anything to go by, he will have little trouble rewriting the history books. The 28-year-old scored one and had a hand in the other four goals in Leicester's 5-3 win over Van Gaal's team 14 months ago.
United's defence has improved greatly since then, but Van Gaal is aware of the threat Vardy will pose to his team. Van Gaal described Vardy as a "nasty" and "great" player, who he also likened to former Arsenal and Ajax great Dennis Bergkamp.
"He was, last season, a very nasty player for us," the United manager said.
"He scored, won a penalty and now he is scoring 10 games in-a-row, then you are a great player. I only know Dennis Bergkamp as a player who did the same with Ajax. It's not so easy to do that."
When asked whether he would consider signing Vardy, Van Gaal gave a terse reply, saying: "That is not your business, I think."
There was little will from Van Gaal to discuss last year's eight-goal thriller, in which United held a two-goal lead twice.
"I don't want to remember that game, especially because of the result, but also the way we lost wasn't good," Van Gaal said.
The Dutchman was more forthcoming when asked about Leicester's title chances, however. Van Gaal believes the league leaders, who are one point above United, are capable of sustaining their title challenge until the end of the campaign.
"It is possible, I think," Van Gaal said.
"Normally, these kind of clubs can be a long time competing, but normally, at the end, it's more difficult. But in England, because of the quality of the teams, because every team has the money to buy players - and they have bought players - the difference in the Premier League between the clubs in level is not so high."
United recovered from the defeat at Leicester to qualify for the Champions League last term, but expectations have grown since. Despite being second in the table after 13 matches, some United fans are unhappy with the style of football being played under Van Gaal.
Dissenting voices were heard again on Wednesday when United put their Champions League last 16 place in jeopardy with a 0-0 draw in their penultimate group game against PSV Eindhoven.
When asked whether he was worried about criticism from supporters, Van Gaal said: "Of course because the fans have to be happy, you are playing for the fans, so you cannot deny that.
"But also you have to see how our opponents are playing against us, and when you see how they play, you know the difficulty of organising against that type of opponent. We are still not lucky in finishing the chances. We are creating chances, and when we are not creating, then maybe I am worried. But we are not giving much away. That is why we are second in the league and in our Champions League group."
Van Gaal will be without Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia for Saturday's game. James Wilson will also not feature as he has been loaned to Championship leaders Brighton. United fans had high hopes for the 19-year-old striker after he scored twice on his debut against Hull under Ryan Giggs two seasons go, but he has played just twice in the league this term. Van Gaal insists the academy graduate still has a future at the club.
"I can imagine that fans are saying that this is ridiculous, they have difficulties to score, but that is a short-term thought," Van Gaal said.
"We have to think what is better for a player like Wilson at the moment. He does not have too many possibilities to play on a higher level. We believe in him, so he has to develop himself elsewhere. If we need him, we can call him back."