Norwich - Marouane Fellaini's suspension for Saturday's trip
to struggling Norwich City has added to Louis van Gaal's problems as the
Manchester United manager looks to secure a place in the Champions League.
Fellaini was charged with violent conduct by the English
Football Association for elbowing Robert Huth after the Leicester City defender
pulled his hair during last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
The Belgium midfielder's conduct has earned him a
three-match ban, meaning he will miss all of United's remaining Premier League
fixtures, although he could return for the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace
on May 22.
With Fellaini absent at Carrow Road and Van Gaal keen to
freshen up his team, the Dutchman is planning changes for the trip for the
"We have to assess the tiredness of the players because
there's an overload of matches, so maybe I have to rotate," Van Gaal said.
"But now Fellaini is suspended so I have to change my
line-up. Every week you have something that you don't like, but I think we can
Fellaini has been largely undistinguished during a United
season that is likely to rank as a disappointment even if they beat Palace at
The lack of a serious Premier League title challenge allied
to some uninspiring football is the reason for the disquiet among the club's
supporters, and yet United are finishing the season strongly.
Van Gaal's team have won six out of eight matches since
being knocked out of the Europa League at the quarter-final stage by Liverpool
and victory in their final three league matches may just be enough to snatch
There is little room for error on that front, as United are
four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, but Van Gaal's side do have a
game in hand and third-placed Arsenal could do them a huge favour by winning at
Eastlands on Sunday.
Also read: Van Gaal warns Fellaini to control himself
- Revenge -
Facing Norwich might bring back bad memories for Van Gaal,
who looked to be on the verge of the sack after Alex Neil's side won 2-1 in the
reverse fixture at Old Trafford in December.
"It is always difficult to play against a team fighting
to maintain their place in the Premier League," Van Gaal added.
"That is no excuse, we have to cope with that. They won
at Old Trafford, so we have to take revenge.
"It shall be a very tough game, but in spite of that we
have to win."
Norwich boss Neil drew positives form his side's display at
Arsenal last weekend but a narrow 1-0 defeat did nothing to ease their
With Newcastle United and Sunderland -- the other contenders
in the three-way battle to avoid the two remaining relegation places -- both picking
up points, Norwich dropped to 19th place, two points adrift of safety.
It was also Norwich's third successive defeat and, having
moved clear of the danger zone last month, they now appear to be on a downward
slide that could lead to an immediate return to the Championship.
With three games remaining, Norwich need a lift, but
centre-back Russell Martin remains confident they can survive.
"Newcastle have got two games left. For Sunderland,
it's a big ask for them to win all three of their games," Martin said.
"So we win on Saturday before they have both played and
we go back above them both. It's as simple as that. And that's what we have to
go and do.
"Win against Manchester United and we go back above our
rivals, it puts the pressure back on them and we'll still have a game in hand
over Newcastle -- just like Sunderland.
"So if we win, it swings back in our favour
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