Louis van Gaal asks media not to harass Marcus Rashford

‘The media have to let him in peace, I think. Give him time to be 18’

Louis van Gaal is concerned the headlines Marcus Rashford is attracting for the sensational start to his Manchester United career may affect the 18-year's progress.

Rashford scored twice on his debut against Midtjylland and twice more against Arsenal during his Premier League debut on Sunday. Van Gaal is pleased with the striker but is aware expectations have to be managed.

Asked what advice he gives Rashford and other young players, the manager said: “It’s to keep them out of the press. To help their answers already. I help them to answer your [media] questions, but also the older players shall guide Marcus Rashford, and I hope to guide you [media] – do not harass a boy of 18 years old. Too much attention is not easy to deal with. I can understand that you are praising him but still we have to manage him.

“The media have to let him in peace, I think. Give him time to be 18. We shall guide him in that way. I think he’s a very modest guy so I don’t think that will be a problem. When you have so much media attention, it can go another way, but I feel he can keep his feet on the ground.”

During the 3-2 win over Arsenal Van Gaal remonstrated with Mike Dean, the fourth official, and lay supine to mime how he felt the Gunners were trying claim fouls.

Although this was well received by the Old Trafford crowd Van Gaal is adamant he will not leave his seat on the bench any more. “No, it’s not a part of my philosophy. I am not a clown,” he said. “I am Louis van Gaal. I am a human being and a manager. My players have to think on the pitch. I help them more to train what I have said that they see the solutions on the pitch. That’s why I’m not doing that, because I cannot influence.

"You have seen who I am. Not every question is of a high level. My problem is I have to answer. On the bench or the pitch or the meeting room, I can be the man who I am. I can do it before – I am Louis van Gaal. I have done this also in the Champions League final [with Ajax in 1995]. I was jumping like that [after] here was a defender [Milan's Marcel Desailly] who was putting his foot at that height against Jari Litmanen.

“That was my way of saying it but it was too emotional. You have to deal with the fourth referee and the authority of the referee. I have to control my emotion and that is why I have apologised. But I don’t feel sorry for it, because it’s me. I think I was right.”

Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian have a chance of being in contention for Wednesday evening's visit of Watford. "They may be ready tomorrow. It depends on how they feel. [Marouane] Fellaini shall come through the last step of training. [Antonio] Valencia is training with the group. [Wayne] Rooney is still in a brace."

Van Gaal believes Leicester City have an edge in the title race. “I think always the number one has the biggest chance, and that’s Leicester,” he said. “Tottenham are playing very well, because they have a big chance. Tottenham have to play against Arsenal also.”

(Guardian service)

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