Wolfsburg: Louis van Gaal has repeated his criticism that Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is not the player he was at Bayern Munich in the wake of Manchester United's Champions League exit.
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Inset: Louis van Gaal
United crashed out of Europe's top domestic competition on Tuesday with a 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg, which left them third in the group to drop into the Europa League.
In the wake of the defeat, Van Gaal reiterated his pre-match comments that Schweinsteiger, 31, is not playing as well as he did during his 14 years at Bayern, who he left for Old Trafford before the start of the season. Schweinsteiger was taken off with twenty minutes to go in Wolfsburg.
"I took him off and I don't take players off for nothing, but we are all human beings and so is Bastian Schweinsteiger," said Van Gaal.
"He wants to play at the highest level, especially in Germany, to show his qualities, but I can't say he was the Bastian Schweinsteiger I saw during my Bayern Munich days. I'm sure he will show his strengths this season," added the Dutchman.
Wolfsburg midfielder Julian Draxler stuck up for his Germany teammate and says Schweinsteiger has more than enough experience to cope with a slump in form at United.
"I believe Basti has experienced so much in his career that he can cope with this easily," said Draxler. "I have absolutely no concerns about that."
Midfielder Draxler sent Schweinsteiger the wrong way in the build up for his side's second goal scored by Portugal's Vieirinha, which put the hosts 2-1 ahead.
"We talked about it during the game, because he went the wrong way," said Draxler. "It was good for us."
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he was disappointed with Van Gaal, who coached Schweinsteiger at Bayern between 2009 and 2011. "He was the one who wanted him (Schweinsteiger) and Bastian needs a bit of time (to adjust)," Rummenigge told Sport Bild.