When Radamel Falcao signed for Manchester United on loan in the summer, he would no doubt have been looking forward to hearing the Old Trafford faithful singing his name every week thanks to his goalscoring exploits.
There has been songs but they haven’t been preceded by goals. The Colombian has struggled so much in the Premier League that Louis van Gaal decided to play him with the U21s this week, a move which saw the press label it as ‘humiliation’ for a man once considered one of the world’s best strikers not too long ago.
Van Gaal sees it differently. Praising Falcao’s attitude, the United boss explained it was nothing more than a management decision to allow the Colombian more time to improve.
“I have 25 players and all of the players can play the next game,” van Gaal said.
“I have to maintain the rhythm of the game with every player. I have read about the ‘big humiliation’ for Falcao, but also Valdes was playing and Rafael as well. Michael Carrick has also played for the second team this season.
“That shows the professional attitude of the player but also the management of the club. It is not a humiliation, it is a professional attitude. In a training session, you never reach the intensity of 90 minutes.
“Of course, the second team level is lower but that is also good that a player from the first team is playing much more minutes at a lower level, because then he can build up his confidence.”
To say Falcao’s loan spell has been a disappointment so far is a bit of an understatement but so long as there are still games to play, there is still the possibility of him flicking the switch and turning on the style. Although, that seems like an improbability at the moment.
If only for his own self-confidence, Falcao will want to start finding the back of the net and with Robin van Persie still injured, van Gaal needs him to start scoring soon.