Van Gaal warns Juan Mata that Manchester United youngster Andreas Pereira could replace him in the starting XI
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has warned Juan Mata that he will have to keep his recent good performances up if he wants to continue playing in the No. 10 role for Manchester United.
The Spaniard who has been used on the right wing for the majority of the season played a starring role in United’s two recent victories against Derby and Stoke City playing through the middle.
Van Gaal was happy with the Spaniard’s performance, but said the 27-year-old needs to keep impressing, otherwise, he could be dropped for 20-year-old Belgian-born attacker Andreas Pereira.
"I have already played Mata in the same role. Maybe you remember that," the Dutchman said.
"I'm not changing him from that role, he has changed himself because previously he wasn't good enough there. That is the reason.
"It is not the coach or the manager, but when he is playing like he has been playing now, he shall play at No.10.
"We will have to see if he plays there on Sunday against Chelsea. Maybe I have another No.10 who is better than Mata - maybe Andreas Pereira is better.
"I don't discuss that with you, I'll discuss it with Juan Mata. Juan Mata knows, and maybe he is doing better now."
Pereira has played just four games for United this season with his most recent appearance coming against Stoke City where he replaced the ex-Chelsea man for the final few minutes.
Fifth place Manchester United take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Van Gaal says Rooney is wrong – Manchester United aren’t playing with more freedom
Rooney had told reporters after the Stoke match that he believed United were playing free flowing football with more freedom However, Van Gaal has refuted such suggestions stating that United are playing the same way as they were playing before.
He told reporters: "I'm not agreeing with the remark of Wayne Rooney when he said that. It's only because they have more confidence. It is especially so with Wayne Rooney, who is saying that because he has scored seven goals in a row.
"Then he can say that he is playing with more freedom, because he has more confidence. But you want to write that it's because he gets another training session in another style or because Louis van Gaal gives more freedom? No, it's still the same.
"We train still the same, in the same way. It's not because of a change of attitude from Mr Louis van Gaal or another way of training. No, I'm sorry to say that.
"We are always working hard and very professionally in the philosophy of Louis van Gaal. That is also the same for Jesse Lingard."