United ready for ‘nasty’ Vardy

Van Gaal: It’s pos­si­ble for Le­ices­ter to win ti­tle

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

MANCH­ESTER UNITED man­ager Louis van Gaal be­lieves that Le­ices­ter City’s Premier League hero­ics are no flash in the pan and that the sur­prise league lead­ers must be taken se­ri­ously as po­ten­tial ti­tle con­tenders.

Speak­ing be­fore the league’s cur­rent top two meet at the King Power Sta­dium to­day, Van Gaal brushed aside pop­u­lar the­ory that the Foxes’ mag­nif­i­cent start to the sea­son will start to fade now that they face a run of tough fix­tures.

Asked at a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day if he felt that Le­ices­ter, who lead United by one point at the top of the ta­ble, could win the ti­tle, Van Gaal re­sponded: “It is pos­si­ble, I think.”

The United man­ager, who has won league ti­tles in Ger­many, Spain and the Nether­lands, said that the spend­ing power of Premier League clubs meant there was less of a qual­ity gap be­tween the top teams and their pur­suers.

Van Gaal also warned of the threat to United posed by “nasty” record- seek­ing Le­ices­ter striker Jamie Vardy, who proved a men­ace against them in last sea­son’s cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture, which Le­ices­ter won 5-3.

Vardy could take his goal-scor­ing run to 11 suc­ces­sive Premier League matches, sur­pass­ing for­mer United striker Ruud van Nis­tel­rooy’s record of 10.

“He (Vardy) was al­ready last year, a very nasty player for us. He scored, he pro­voked a penalty and now he is scor­ing 10 goals a row, so he is a great player,” Van Gaal said.

The Dutch man­ager drew par­al­lels be­tween Vardy and for­mer Arse­nal great Den­nis Bergkamp, who played un­der the Dutch­man at Ajax.

United travel to Le­ices­ter with Van Gaal un­der fire for his team’s cau­tious per­for­mances.

But Van Gaal re­mains un­wor­ried about the crit­i­cism, re­spond­ing: “We are still not lucky in fin­ish­ing the chances. We are cre­at­ing chances, and when we are not cre­at­ing, then maybe I am wor­ried.”

Else­where, Chelsea cap­tain John Terry is a ma­jor in­jury doubt for Chelsea’s Premier League clash at Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur tomorrow.

Man­ager Jose Mour­inho told a news con­fer­ence that Terry missed a train­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day be­cause of the an­kle in­jury he suf­fered in the mid­week 4-0 Cham­pi­ons League vic­tory at Mac­cabi Tel Aviv.

The 34-year-old cen­tre back is ex­pected to un­dergo a fit­ness test be­fore the game at White Hart Lane, a match that could prove piv­otal in Chelsea’s dif­fi­cult sea­son.

“I don’t want to say that it’s im­pos­si­ble he plays be­cause maybe he plays and then you will say that I was hid­ing,” Mour­inho said.

“I’m not hid­ing. To­day he didn’t train but we have a lit­tle hope that it’s pos­si­ble.”

Mour­inho of­fered a vote of confi- dence in the cen­tral de­fen­sive pair­ing of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma, should Terry fail to make it.

“I have com­plete trust in Cahill and Zouma,” he said. “That’s why, in a fun­da­men­tal match for us on Tues­day, I left Zouma out af­ter good per­for­mances to play Gary and show Gary that con­fi­dence.”

Brazil­ian mid­fielder Ramires is also doubt­ful with a slight mus­cle in­jury picked up in train­ing in Is­rael.

Af­ter win­ning their last two games, against Nor­wich City and Mac­cabi, Mour­inho was asked if he felt that his strug­gling side, still 15th out of 20 in the ta­ble, had turned a cor­ner.

“No,” he re­sponded. “I think Chelsea is a big club and big clubs have dif­fi­cult mo­ments. Big clubs cope with dif­fi­cult mo­ments and try to build again, to have good mo­ments again.

“Ev­ery point be­tween now and the end of the sea­son can make a dif­fer­ence.” – Reuters

BACKPAGEPIX

A REAL MEN­ACE: Jamie Vardy will looK to in­flict more pain on Manch­ester United to­day.

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