United ready for ‘nasty’ Vardy
Van Gaal: It’s possible for Leicester to win title
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
A REAL MENACE: Jamie Vardy will looK to inflict more pain on Manchester United today.