Man United star thanks Van Gaal for backing

Antonio Valencia has thanked manager Louis van Gaal for backing him to fill the club’s right-back role.

The Ecuador international has played on the wing for the majority of his career, but has slotted into the Red Devils’ impressive defence of late.

Valencia’s future at the club was in doubt last summer after a number of inconsistent campaigns, but he has been given a new lease of life under the Dutch maestro.

With the South American an ever-present in United’s recent run of five consecutive victories, the former Wigan Athletic man has thanked Van Gaal for his backing.

“Not only do I have the confidence of the manager and the faith he has shown in me, but I also enjoy the confidence that my team-mates and the supporters have given me,” Valencia told the club’s official website.

“Confidence has been on the increase for some time; that’s down to the results we have picked up. We’ve also worked hard and that has put us in good form ahead of such an important game as the derby. Let’s hope we can perform well.”

Valencia will be an important man as United host cross-town rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford later today, with every chance that he will have to deal with David Silva in the visiting attack.

Despite Valencia’s strong recent form, United are widely expected to sign a new right-back this summer, with Dani Alves and Nathaniel Clyne being mentioned as targets.