The Red Devils were 1-0 winners against Watford at Old Trafford on Wednesday night thanks to Juan Mata’s 83rd-minute winner for the hosts.
Argentina international Marcos Rojo played 70 minutes of the Premier League clash before the centre-half was replaced following his return from a shoulder injury.
Matteo Darmian got some vital minutes under his belt against the Hornets as the Italy international continues his road back to full fitness after his recent injury problems.
Speaking at his post-match press conference on Wednesday night, Van Gaal expressed his delight at United’s returning players but admitted he would need to be careful with Rojo and Darmian.
“We have to go step by step, I think,” Van Gaal said.
“We now have four victories in a row, which is fantastic, but we have a very small selection at the moment. Players are coming back, but I still have to solve a problem in my line-up every week.
“When players are coming back, they are not fit enough. You’ve seen how [Marcos] Rojo was struggling. I give them 20 minutes and then 50 minutes and today 70 minutes and I have to do that within Premier League matches. It is better to do that in the second team, but I am forced to do that. The last four matches have been great, but we still have to go step by step.”
United are in fifth place and level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City in the race to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
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