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Van Gaal defends Woodward after Pedro U-turn

Louis van Gaal says he still has complete faith in executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, despite Manchester United having missed out on another key target after Pedro joined Chelsea.

The Old Trafford chief had flown to Barcelona to seal a deal earlier this week but was beaten to the winger's signature by the Premier League champions, while they also missed out on Manchester City new-boy Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Ramos, who signed a new contract with Real Madrid.

"No-one should doubt Ed Woodward," he told reporters. "I have the idea you want to separate Ed Woodward with me. Never. Never, because every day I am updated by him and I trust him."

Van Gaal refused to be drawn on the reasons why Pedro's move to Old Trafford broke down amid conflicting rumours surrounding the transfer saga, with some reports suggesting the Red Devils had not been snubbed, but actually pulled the plug on the deal themselves.

"I cannot answer these questions [on Pedro], you know that," Van Gaal continued. "I have said it before, that what we are doing is a process.

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"In that process we make decisions and I think when we wanted Pedro, it was not any problem. That is because there was a clause in his contract, so it was the easiest transfer.

"You can write what you want, but we cannot say what we want, that is the difference."

The Dutchman also suggested his own interest in the player had been exaggerated in the media, despite having previously admitted to being a big fan of the former Barcelona star.

He added: "I have the responsibility of protecting the interests of my club and my players.

"If you ask me if Pedro is fitting the profile [of United], I cannot lie, I say yes, but I didn’t say I am interested in the player. That is the difference.

"He is fast and he is creative. That is why I understand the question [about whether he fits the profile]."