Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that he had to convince the club’s board to approve the signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The 31-year-old midfielder arrived at Old Trafford last summer from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Die Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola later claimed that persistent ankle and knee problems had prevented Schweinsteiger from achieving full fitness for the past three years.
This revelation caused some to question the logic behind United’s move and Van Gaal, who also coached the Germany international at Bayern from 2009 to 2011, now admits that he had to bring club officials round to the idea of the move.
"Manchester United has bought him even though he is now 31, so I had to convince the board to buy him, because he’s a very good player and he always gives a team more balance," he said.
Schweinsteiger, who has had an inconsistent start to life at Old Trafford, has been sidelined since the FA Cup third round win over Sheffield United last month with a recurrence of his historic knee problem.
Van Gaal bemoaned the midfielder’s luck with injuries but also revealed that, towards the end of last year, he told Schweinsteiger that he expects to see more from him.
"Bastian has been unlucky because he picked up an injury at a time that he was playing very well – he was improving," van Gaal continued.
"However, during December I said that I expect more and he was very disappointed I said that, but I think I can say that because my expectation is higher."
The Dutchman believes Schweinsteiger took the criticism on board and was impressed by his performances towards the end of 2015.
"He played very well at Wolfsburg and then began to reach the level he showed at Munich – I think he can [get back to it]."