Manchester United top the Premier League spending charts but after a dismal start to life under Louis van Gaal they badly need to beat promoted Burnley on Saturday.
The arrival of Argentine winger Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for a British-record £59.7 million ($99 million) took their spending this transfer window to over £130 million but, as Van Gaal knows, splashing the cash is no guarantee of success. The experienced Dutchman has yet to register a competitive victory, picking up one point from two league games and suffering an embarrassing 4-0 League Cup thrashing at third-tier MK Dons on Tuesday.
United’s name was missing from the Champions League draw after last season’s seventh-place finish, compounding the gloom around Old Trafford, and although Van Gaal insists it will take time for the squad to adjust to his methods, rapid improvement is required at Turf Moor. “Our problem is when we have the ball,” Van Gaal told reporters. “We have to build up the play and we have to improve that. So I don’t think our defence is weak — no, our build-up is still not good enough and we shall improve that, but that needs time.”
United are missing Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa and Luke Shaw through injury, while Marcos Rojo is still unavailable as he has yet to receive a work permit.
Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o could appear against former club Chelsea when the sides clash at Goodison Park on Saturday. Everton manager Roberto Martinez will make a late decision on 33-year-old Eto’o’s involvement but he expects Lukaku to play despite a sore toe. “Rom has strong inner strength and I don’t think he is motivated by who he is facing or who is in front of him,” Martinez told the club website.