Van Gaal: Ideals beat facilities
Manchester City are not guaranteed to get the pick of the best young players in the north west despite spending £200million on a new training complex, Louis van Gaal has warned.
City unveiled their state-of-the-art training complex on Monday.
The base, which is connected to the Etihad Stadium by bridge, includes a 7,000-seater stadium, 16 pitches and hotel-standard accommodation for players as well as cutting-edge technology which will aid opposition analysis and rehabilitation from injury.
City's first-team squad will be based there, as well as the club's youth sides.
Patrick Vieira, who runs City's elite development squad, said at the launch that youngsters in Manchester would have an "easy choice" when deciding where their future lies.
United have prided themselves on developing some of the best talent in history, but Van Gaal is not too concerned about what is happening over in east Manchester.
"The building is not so important, the accommodation is not so important, it's the philosophy and the staff that's important," the United manager said at the club's own training ground on Friday.
"Then comes of course the talent."
United have their own multi-million pound facility at Carrington which is the envy of many clubs across Europe.
"When I see what I have then I am very happy," Van Gaal said.
One of United's most famous youth products, Paul Scholes, wrote in the Independent on Friday that he feared United would lose out to City in the battle for the best prospects in the region.
Van Gaal was not impressed with Scholes' words, particularly when they came just four days after Gary Neville had compared his former club to a pub team.
"Paul Scholes. Also a legend. He has to pay attention to his words also," said Van Gaal, who responded with the same barb when he was informed of Neville's criticisms following the highly fortuitous 2-1 win over Southampton on Monday.
Neville predicted United's game against Liverpool on Sunday - traditionally one of the biggest games in the calendar - would resemble something like "the Dog & Duck against the Red Lion" because of the poor form of both teams.
Van Gaal's men may be up to third in the table after five straight wins, but ever the perfectionist, the Dutchman is still not happy at trailing leaders Chelsea and second-place City.
''I dream for Manchester City's place or Chelsea's place,'' the Dutchman admitted, frankly.
''(But) now we have to live match for match and that is the most important thing.''
Van Gaal got a little taste of the rivalry between United and Liverpool in pre-season when the two teams met in Miami for the final of the International Champions Cup.
United came out on top that night with a 3-1 victory at the Sun Life Stadium.
United cook Mike Donnelly made it clear to United's new manager just how important it was to get one over on their rivals that day even though the match was a friendly.
''Even on the tour of the United States, all the members of my staff were (talking about the rivalry with Liverpool),'' Van Gaal said.
''We have a cook and his name is Mike and when I don't know about anything to do with United and rival clubs he shall say it.
''He is a big Manchester United fan and I hear immediately from him.''
United's record signing Angel di Maria will miss Sunday's game as he is still out with a hamstring problem, but Rafael and Phil Jones are back following their respective groin and shin injuries.