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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal denies rift with Ed Woodward

Louis van Gaal mounted a staunch defence of Ed Woodward after Manchester United missed out on Pedro and insisted that there will never be a rift between the manager and the executive vice-chairman at Old Trafford.

Pedro, 28, who was a target for United, joined Chelsea from Barcelona for £21 million on Thursday.

Sources told ESPN FC that Van Gaal had made the final decision to end United's interest in the Spanish World Cup winner, who had a release clause in his contract at the Camp Nou.

But while some have criticised Woodward, who was reportedly in Barcelona on Monday to try and negotiate a deal, after United failed to bring in another player, Van Gaal is adamant they should not.

"I don't think they have to doubt Ed Woodward because he has proven for many years that he is the right person in the right spot," he said in a news conference.

Van Gaal also accused outsiders of trying to drive a wedge between him and Woodward but claimed they will not succeed.

"I have the idea that you want to separate Ed Woodward from me," he said. "Never. Never. Every day I am updated by him and I trust him."

A spiky Van Gaal had admitted last week that Pedro fitted the profile of a player he wanted as he tries to add pace and invention to the forward line, but insisted his words were twisted and refused to explain why United either opted not to bring in Pedro or were unable to persuade him to join.

"I think if we want Pedro, it was not any problem so because there was a clause in his contract so it was the most easy transfer," he added.

"You can write what you want but we cannot say what we want. I have the responsibility of protecting the interests of the club and my players and I cannot say too much.

"I admitted that Pedro fits in my profile but I cannot deny that because he is fast and creative. I answered that question because I think it is obvious. Then you put it in another perspective and [say] he is coming to Manchester United. I have never said that. You have to ask Pedro.

"People have to know that what is written in the papers is not true. You cannot know it. Only the players know, the club know and that is it. Also Barcelona protect their interest. I have read that Barcelona does not want to let him go. You have to ask Barcelona how it can happen then."

United made a bid for Southampton winger Sadio Mane last week but Van Gaal was reluctant to talk about the Senegal star.

"I cannot answer that question neither because then I interfere and I don't want to interfere," he added. "Ed Woodward does the situation and he does it very well I think."