Manchester United will be out to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Southampton last weekend when they travel to QPR on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal’s side slipped to fourth in the table on the back of the 1-0 loss, their first in 12 games. The defeat appeared to have been coming however following a number of lacklustre performances over the Christmas period that included three draws in four games against Villa, Spurs and Stoke.
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Van Gaal will hope that Robin Van Persie can prove his fitness ahead of the clash in London. The Dutch forward, United’s joint top goal scorer with 8 goals, as a slim chance of playing with the ankle injury sustained against Southampton considered to be only minor.
If Van Persie fails to overcome the knock, Radamel Falcao is expected to replace him. The future of the Colombian forward has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with the former Atletico striker dropped from the squad last weekend.
Van Gaal has urged the on-loan man to prove himself to earn a recall to the side with the manager insisting his reputation alone not enough to guarantee a starting berth.
“He has to prove himself, we have agreed. We have made this deal and everything is clear. It is not the end of the year so he has a chance for that.” Van Gaal said.
“For the manager, it is about the quality of the training sessions, the quality in his performances and in matches. You have a gameplan and I have already explained after the match against Southampton. It is always the same explanation.
“If a player cost £95m or £5,000, there is no difference for me. It’s difficult to understand for you, I believe because it’s the second question or the third question but it’s like that. You have to prove yourself.
“A player of £95m has to prove himself also. If I’m not like that, maybe he’ll have less motivation. So I have to be like that. It’s difficult for the outside world.
“I said in the beginning, we want to be champion but then you have to win matches against Southampton and Aston Villa away. When we’re not doing that, we can’t be champions.
“Our goal was to start the process and be in the first four because we want to play in the Champions League. That’s still our goal.”
Defenders Rafael (cheekbone) and Marcos Rojo (thigh) are in contention after recovering from their respective injuries but wing-back Ashley Young is unavailable because of a hamstring problem.
QPR meanwhile will have Niko Kranjcar available after he recovered from a thigh injury ahead however Armand Traore (toe), Sandro (knee) and Yun Suk-Young (ankle) miss out.