Apr 05, 2016

    Van Gaal: We can qualify for Champs League


    LOUIS van Gaal is convinced Manchester United are on track to claim a Champions League place from the wreckage of one of Old Trafford's most difficult seasons in recent memory.

    His job as manager, in his second campaign at the club, has been the subject of widespread speculation since United's early exit from the Champions League group stage in December.

    That failure was compounded by United's defeat in the second-tier Europa League by arch-rivals Liverpool last month.

    Van Gaal has been tipped to leave in summer to make way for Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager. But he will lead his team into Sunday's game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in confident mood, following their 1-0 win over Everton at Old Trafford.

    That was United's fourth win in five domestic league games and left them just a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City, currently occupying the final Champions League spot on offer to English clubs.

    "I said in the dressing room after the match that it was very important to win today, otherwise the victory against (Manchester) City was worthless," said van Gaal.

    Home matches against doomed Aston Villa and struggling Crystal Palace offer six points to a team who have grown in stature at Old Trafford in recent weeks.

    And van Gaal can steer United into the FA Cup final by first winning an admittedly tough replay with West Ham and then a Wembley semi-final against Everton.

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, has to ponder a fresh round of criticism from Toffees fans as he prepares for the weekend trip to Watford.

    Told that many of Everton's 3,500 following at Old Trafford had booed at the final whistle because they were "fed up", Martinez replied: "We all are. You can hear our boos in the dressing room."

    He wants to take 12th-placed Everton forward without panicking. "We're a club where there has been a bit of a change of generation.

    "A lot of players have come in. Incredible young talent needs know-how and lessons, and to develop," the Spaniard added.