Louis van Gaal has praised Manchester United stars Chris Smalling and Ashley Young ahead of their clash against Arsenal on Sunday (4 October). Despite spending over £200m ($303m) in the last two summer transfer windows, the Dutchman has hailed the duo's performances in recent weeks, which sees the Red Devils sitting on the top of the Premier League table.
The former Fulham defender has risen to the occasion this campaign and has clearly been one of the Old Trafford club's best players in the 2015/16 campaign thus far. He has formed a solid partnership with Daley Blind at the heart of United's back four, and has not looked back since his sending off during the Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium last season.
Van Gaal insists that all the credit should go to the player and not the manager, as it was Smalling's effort and determination that has made him a mainstay in the 20-time English Champions' starting XI this season.
"I think the player, when he does things, he does it all by himself," Van Gaal said, as quoted on United's official site. "I help him with advice and also with demands, also with training sessions, also with showing images to improve him, but he has to be open and he has to perform on the pitch. He does everything for himself. The greatest compliment you have to make is to Chris and not to me," the former Bayern Munich manager added.
Young, on the other hand, has struggled to get regular game time this season, with the Dutch manager preferring Memphis Depay and Juan Mata in the wide roles, but the manager is full of praise for the midfielder - who can operate in multiple positions - for putting the team's happiness before his own. The former Aston Villa star has excelled under Van Gaal, and has been deployed in multiple positions, with the latest being at right-back, which was during their 2-1 win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday (30 September) night.
"Ashley Young is very important. At the first place he is a team player. Not many players are actually team players but he is always thinking about the team. He can play in a lot of positions and for a trainer-coach or a manager it is fantastic that he is willing to do that," the Dutchman said.
"Yesterday he came in as a right full-back, he hasn't played there much I believe. The second goal started with him. It was very important that he played there in the second half and I am very happy with him. He accepts his role and that's also important," Van Gaal concluded.