Allardyce: Van Gaal strong enough to deal with speculation

Date published: Friday 12th February 2016 2:01

Sam Allardyce: Not worried about Van Gaal

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce believes Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal is strong enough to deal with the speculation about his future.

The Dutchman has spent recent weeks angrily denying his job is under threat amid reports that the club has held discussions with potential replacement Jose Mourinho.

Allardyce and Van Gaal will be in opposing dugouts at the Stadium of Light on Saturday as the relegation-threatened Black Cats attempt to secure a first home league victory over a resurgent United for the first time in 14 attempts since March 1997.

However, the Englishman is not expecting his Red Devils counterpart to be distracted by rumours.

He said: “What you have to find out is whether it’s true. If you find out whether it’s true, then you know where your fate lies.

“You don’t always find out whether it’s true or not from the owners sometimes, but you have got to try to find out, then you know one way or the other.

“The bigger the club, the bigger the speculation and the more you have to cope, the more coping mechanisms you have to have.

“Louis van Gaal is experienced enough across the whole of Europe to cope with those additional pressures which are thrust upon him at the moment.

“He will be focussed on his team getting yet another result because they are in good form at the moment, so the players are doing his talking for him at the minute and we have obviously got to stop those players performing as they have done recently because they have picked up quite a few wins.”

United are fifth in the Barclays Premier League table, six points adrift of fourth-placed rivals Manchester City in fourth – but they have lost only once in nine games in all competitions and that run has coincided with the return to goalscoring form of England skipper Wayne Rooney, who has seven in his last eight appearances.

Allardyce said: “If we are going to get a result, the main reason would be trying to stop Wayne Rooney in the goalscoring form he is in at the moment.”

Sunderland remain 19th place, four points shy of safety despite last weekend’s battling point at Liverpool, and Allardyce knows they need to start producing something special if they are to dig themselves out of trouble.

He said: “Anybody that we can beat that we are not supposed to beat, it’s going to be a shock and a major bonus to us because of our position in the league.

“When you play Manchester United and you can get a win, it’s a result unexpected across the board and a massive bonus in your fight against relegation.”

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