Premier League: Louis van Gaal not shocked by Graziano Pelle's fast start at Southampton

Graziano Pelle of Southampton celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Sunderland
Image: Graziano Pelle: Louis van Gaal not surprised by his success in England

Louis van Gaal is not surprised by the success Graziano Pelle has enjoyed since his arrival in the Premier League.

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The Southampton striker has already scored nine goals since his summer move from Feyenoord, where he worked alongside Ronald Koeman and hit the target at nearly a goal a game across two prolific seasons.

Pelle also played under Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar and the Dutchman knows what to expect out of his former charge when Manchester United visit St Mary's on Monday Night Football.

Van Gaal said: "I am not surprised [at his success] because I bought him at AZ as he was an attacking point.

"I've said about (Robin) van Persie that I like strikers who are an attacking point, not only a striker who scores goals.

"He is also very creative. He is always seeing the third man. Van Persie is also always seeing the third man.

"Those kind of strikers are the ones I like. So it is not surprising. It may be surprising that he scores nine goals - that is a lot - but he can do it. I knew that.

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"I had Shota Arveladze, one of the best strikers I have trained in my career. I have trained a lot of strikers but he was one of the best and he had to compete with him.

"So that was not so easy for him but later on he came in the squad and showed his capacity but later on he showed that much more and when Koeman bought him - because he was also manager of AZ - he took him with him to Feyenoord and he explodes. It is fantastic for him."

United will move into third place if they win on Monday but, although he is pleased with the team's progress, Van Gaal is not yet tabbing them as a sure-fire top-four contender.

He added: "No because at the end of the season it counts, now doesn't count. We are going the right way despite the injuries we've had, we are at the right way.

"I think the main important thing is that the players want to follow the philosophy which is why despite the many changes we could continue.

"I could have chosen other clubs but this was the challenge for me and why I am here. But I know of course it is a big challenge, not so easy, but I accept that."

Watch Southampton take on Manchester United on Monday Night Football - coverage starts on Sky Sports 1 at 7:00pm.

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