Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has backed under fire attacker Memphis Depay to regain his confidence after a positive performance against the Norwich City reserves in the U21 Premier League with the Red Devils' U21 side on Monday (8 February). The former PSV Eindhoven star picked up three assists as they ran riot to the top of the league with a 7-0 win.
The Dutch international has come under criticism of late for his lacklustre performances especially during their loss against Stoke City and their last gasp draw with Chelsea, when he was at fault for the goals conceded. After a successful start to his Premier League career, he has failed to adapt to the pace and intensity of the league and struggled to consistently break into the starting XI, with Antony Martial deployed on the right-wing in recent months. He is likely to be on the bench yet again when the 20-time English champions take on Sunderland on Saturday (13 February).
The former Bayern Munich manager believes the game with the U22 side will help rebuild his confidence while also giving disgruntled fans a glimpse of his real talent, which was appreciated by the Red Devils' supporters on Monday. But the manager made it clear that with United taking part in three competitions, this will be the last time the Dutch attacker will be involved with the United second string.
"The game he played against Norwich was a good game for him. I think a lot of fans enjoyed his performance; I was there also and I watched him," Van Gaal said, as quoted on United's official site.
"There was a lot of criticism but you have to cope with that. For him it was a very good match as it could raise his confidence and I have seen the reaction of the fans."
"These fans are the real fans, those who look to the second team, and they were very enthusiastic. He had three assists, but all his actions were very enthusiastic and it is also good for him," the Dutch manager added.
"I let him play but I cannot play too much of the first selection in the second team because I have to cope with a lot of matches. So now we play Sunderland and then against Midtjylland, before playing Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup."
"I have to cope with this, so Monday was the last time that I could play Memphis in the second team, but also Januzaj and other players."