Football: Schweinsteiger can lead United in Rooney's absence, says van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger can lead the team in the absence of captain Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger can lead the team in the absence of captain Wayne Rooney.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger can provide the leadership that Manchester United need in their Champions League clash against Wolfsburg on Tuesday, as they seek to qualify for the knockout stages, manager Louis van Gaal has said.

United will be without captain Wayne Rooney, who is still recovering from an injured ankle, and need to at least match PSV Eindhoven's result at home to CSKA Moscow to progress.

Van Gaal's team have found goals hard to come by this season and their often listless displays have drawn the ire of their fans, but the Dutchman is counting on Schweinsteiger to guide his team through a tricky tie in Germany.

"The reason why we have bought Schweinsteiger is that he is a player who can lead or guide a team. That is important - not only his football qualities - but that he can lead and guide a team on the pitch," van Gaal said, quoted by the club website (www.manutd.com).

"I believe that every match that he plays he can play better because until now we have not seen the best Schweinsteiger that I have seen at Bayern Munich, but he can guide the team."

Since qualifying for the Champions League via a play-off against Club Bruges, United have scored five goals in five games in the competition, and Schweinsteiger has called on his team-mates to be more clinical, putting their struggles down to a question of attitude.

"The players are not scared in front of goal, no. It is all about the killer instinct. We have players who have the abilities but we need it in every game," he said.

"When you are a big striker like (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi and Thomas Mueller, they are all the same. It is about attitude. You need the attitude that you want to score.

"The motivation is there for Tuesday. It is a very important match for us and I know how difficult it is at Wolfsburg.

"We have to find the right tactic."