Football: Fellaini must fight for Manchester United place, says manager Van Gaal

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring their second goal in a  Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United.
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring their second goal in a Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (GUARDIAN) - Marouane Fellaini is in a fight to regain his Manchester United starting place, Louis van Gaal has warned.

The midfielder is suspended for the opening three matches of the Premier League because of the red card he received at Hull City on the final day of last season.

Van Gaal is using the four-match tour of America, United's only matches before the campaign begins on 8 August, to assess other midfielders.

In Friday evening's 1-0 win over Club America in Seattle Fellaini did not play despite the manager deploying different sides in each half.

Said Van Gaal: "Fellaini is suspended for the first three matches and he has longer to be ready, so I have to look at other players."

Fellaini fought his way into Van Gaal's strongest XI last season but will have to wait until 30 August to be available for a first outing. That is United's visit to Swansea City.

However as Van Gaal now has many options in midfield the Belgian could face a struggle to play. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin were bought last week to join Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Daley Blind at the club.

Against America, Mexico's most successful team, it was Schneiderlin who particularly impressed.

Fellaini was one of only four players not to feature. David de Gea and Antonio Valencia missed out because of minor injuries, Van Gaal said.

Shaun Goss, the youngest player on the trip at 19, might have expected not to play. The Belgian, though, would have.

Instead Fellaini had to watch as Schneiderlin produced an impressive all-round midfield display that included the fifth-minute header that gave United victory.

Van Gaal said: "He scored with Southampton, I believe five goals, so it is not a coincidence but we have practised this with him so I was very pleased with the performance."

Of United's other new signings, Schweinsteiger was efficient in the second half while before the break Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian showed promise.