Louis van Gaal has admitted that he could rotate Manchester United's starting XI amid a busy fixture list as the club approaches a defining three-week period in his underwhelming tenure at Old Trafford. Currently fifth in the top-flight and four points adrift of nearest rivals Manchester City with a game in hand, the Red Devils continue their push for Champions League qualification with three matches in eight days against Norwich City, West Ham United and Bournemouth.
Following Anthony Martial's late winner to oust Everton a fortnight ago, United also travel to Wembley on 21 May to contest the 2016 FA Cup final against Crystal Palace. The 11-time winners, who have not lifted the trophy since 2004, are not inundated with injury concerns at present with only Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane in the treatment room and Luke Shaw still working his way back to full fitness seven months after sustaining a double leg fracture.
However, Marouane Fellaini will miss the rest of the Premier League season due to a three-match suspension after accepting a charge of violent conduct handed down following his off-the-ball altercation with Leicester City centre-back Robert Huth. The uncompromising Belgian midfielder has started four of United's last five games, and his absence will require Van Gaal to shuffle the deck.
"We have to assess the tiredness of the players because there's an overload of matches, so maybe I have to rotate," he told MUTV. "Fellaini is suspended so I will have to change my line-up. Every week you have something that you don't like, but I think we can manage."
On his desire to maintain a consistency with regards to team selection, he added: "When I can, I shall do it always, in every club I have done that. In the Premier League it is more difficult because of the overload of the matches, we have to play more matches than in Spain or Germany, so I have to rotate sometimes, but also because of injuries or suspensions."
Fellaini caught Huth with a flailing elbow to the jaw during last weekend's 1-1 draw, and also appeared to strike out with his left hand after having his hair pulled while grappling at a corner. The Leicester defender was also banned for his part in the fracas, but Van Gaal believes United should have been awarded a penalty by referee Michael Oliver.
"We haven't appealed because the reaction of Fellaini is like a human being," he added. "When the FA gives Huth a suspension of three matches then they admit that it was a penalty and I have said this after the match. I still believe that Fellaini acted in the way of a human being, but he has to control himself better, that is true. But when you stick someone by the hair this shall always exist."