Belfast Telegraph

United boss LVG hits back at Scholes' Academy claim

By Ian Herbert

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has delivered a sharp response to Paul Scholes' claim that Manchester City's new academy is better than United's, warning him that he should be careful what he says from the sidelines.

The modernity and sophistication of City's new £200m facility leading Scholes to suggest that he was concerned that the old rival may take Manchester's best players.

But Van Gaal, who warned earlier this week that "legends" such as Gary Neville should be careful after the former captain said tomorrow's United v Liverpool match would resemble a pub team game, said Scholes too should "pay attention" to what he says.

Van Gaal said: "Yes, that's also a legend, yeah? I think he has to pay attention to his words, too.

"The building and accommodation is not so important. The philosophy and staff are ­- and then of course you have to work with the talents.

"I don't have time to compare talents and staff with each other; when I see what we have I know I am very happy.

"Now I am more occupied with the first team and that's more than difficult enough without the youth education."

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie insists he is back to his best and has denied suggestions he is over the hill.

The arrival of Radamel Falcao, and Wayne Rooney's appointment as captain had led some to question the 31-year-old's place in the starting XI.

The striker looked a shadow of the man who scored 29 goals in his debut year at Old Trafford at the start of this campaign.

But after scoring three goals in his last three games - including a match-winning brace against Southampton - Van Persie believes he has reached peak form again, which is handy for United ahead of their biggest home fixture of the season.

"When you hit 30 and you're having a bad spell everyone say it's because you're 30 or 31 and things might be over for you," the United striker said.

"I live a quiet life for my football and I'm almost convinced now that I will play for many years to come at the highest level, at least that's what I want and what I'm aiming for.

"The age thing is not an issue for me at all."

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has accepted a Football Association charge in relation to making racist and anti-semitic comments on social media but has offered mitigation for his actions.

The Italy international posted an image of computer game character Super Mario on Instagram which included the words "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew".

However, the 24-year-old has not requested a personal hearing but has instead submitted written mitigation. The striker apologised on Twitter, adding: "The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that out of context (it) may have the opposite effect."

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