Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hopes that Wayne Rooney will end his goal-scoring drought against Everton this weekend and help his side to an important win over the Toffees. A loss for the Red Devils will see them go behind the Toffees on goal difference and out of the top four, a massive turnaround from when they were heading the league table before the international break.
The Red Devils have been brought back to earth by Arsenal with an impressive 3-0 win at the Emirates, where the Gunners took United apart in under 20 minutes and sat the rest of the game to see the 20-time English Champions through. The likes of Rooney and Martial failed to affect the game which is of concern to Van Gaal as he needs his best players to step up their performance.
Rooney has only one Premier League goal this season and has failed to notch up any assists either but Van Gaal is confident that the 29-year-old can overcome this and come back to being at his best. Rooney also has the backing of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson who bought him from Everton. He said each top class player, be it Ruud van Nistelrooy or Eric Cantona, has gone through a lean phase but were able to come back and perform at their best.
Van Gaal has started the season well and despite the Arsenal loss finds himself third in the league, two points behind Manchester City. However, with Rooney failing to score goals, he is over-reliant on the likes of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata to find the net, something which he is trying to avoid going forward in the season.
"Maybe against Everton he can change but his average is not so good [against them]. So it's getting time that he changed that pattern. I don't know [why]. That you have to ask Wayne but I'm a manager who analyses opponents and gives him advice as to how we can disorganise Everton's defence and then maybe he can score," Van Gaal is quoted as saying by the Guardian.
"That is what I'm doing, not only for Wayne but all the players, especially from the view of the team tactics rather than the individual tactics. He's scored for us in the Champions League. So for me it is not so important who is scoring. We have scored a lot of goals. In the beginning your criticism was we don't score goals but now we've scored a lot of goals and you're picking up an individual player and I don't like that."