Louis van Gaal will not make a call on Radamel Falcao’s future until the striker has an extended run in the Manchester United first team.
Despite a difficult, injury-hit start to life at Old Trafford, Falcao this week spelled out his desire to stay at the club beyond the end of the season.
The Colombian, who is on a season-long loan from Monaco, says he is settled in Manchester and happy at the club despite scoring just once in eight appearances.
Van Gaal will not be rushed into making a decision on whether to exercise his right to sign the player in a £43.5million deal though.
The United manager wants the former Porto and Atletico Madrid striker to prove his fitness and form first.
“He hasn’t played so much,” Van Gaal said when asked about the possibility of signing Falcao.
“You cannot see too much of a player if he doesn’t train so much.
“He has been injured a lot of time. First you have to be fit.
“Now he shows fitness in the training sessions so maybe I shall select him (for Saturday’s game at Aston Villa), maybe for the bench or the line up. Let’s wait and see.”
Falcao’s last start came on October 5 when he scored his one and only goal for the club against Everton.
Van Gaal fielded teenage striker James Wilson ahead of the two-time Ballon d’Or nominee for last week’s 3-0 win over Liverpool.
Van Gaal also endured a difficult start to life in England, but his team have turned a corner of late.
The win over Liverpool kept United in third position, eight points shy of leaders Chelsea.
United may have won six successive games, but so far their performances have not been up to scratch, Van Gaal admits.
Sir Alex Ferguson made a habit of winning titles on the back of occasionally scrappy displays, but Van Gaal, ever the perfectionist, wants to see performances as well as results.
“I am not only focused on results,” said the Dutchman, who has won leagues in Holland, Spain and Germany.
“When I speak with Sir Alex (about playing badly and still winning), he says, ‘It’s not any problem, you have won’, but for me it’s also the performances that are very important because when you perform you shall win more and that’s what I want to show to the fans.
“When you win six times in a row then the confidence is rising, but I am still looking for a game that is closer to the perfect game than we have given until now.”