Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal only thinking about winning
Published 17/03/2016 | 04:36
Manchester United are facing an uphill battle, but Louis van Gaal is only contemplating victory and Europa League progress against Liverpool.
Only David de Gea prevented the first leg of this last-16 clash being more comprehensive than the 2-0 defeat handed down at Anfield last week.
An undercooked United struggled on Merseyside and their inability to eke out an away goal means several bookmakers have priced them at 7/1 to progress to the quarter-finals.
The Red Devils do, though, have a famous history of bouncing back, and Van Gaal is confident they can still progress past their rivals.
"I think the challenge to beat Liverpool and the challenge that we are two goals down is a big challenge," the United boss said.
"We have to believe in it and it starts with the players, of course, but it starts also with the fans. The fans have a lot of impact on the pitch.
"I have spoken only with the players about the victory and we have to believe in it."
Asked if United owe their fans a big display, the Dutchman said: "Yes, but we owe always to the fans a big result because the fans are paying to see that.
"We have to deliver, but in sport you can lose and you can win. It's very difficult but you have to accept that.
"But (on Thursday) we only have to think we have to beat Liverpool and we have beat them 2-0 - not with 3-0 because we can do that also in extra time.
"We have to do it in 90 minutes, 2-0, then we have the chance to beat them and go to the next round.
"You know that we have scored goals within three or four minutes this season, so it is possible."
Ander Herrera echoed his manager's sentiments in the pre-match press conference, leading Van Gaal to congratulate the midfielder for his display of strength.
The 26-year-old's belief in United's ability to overturn the two-goal defeat seemed genuine, as did his anger at suggestions that the team lacked fight and desire at Anfield.
"We always fight, we always have the desire to win, we always want to win," Herrera said.
"Every game is different. Liverpool are in very good form, but you can never say that we don't want to win or fight.
"I think everyone has to respect us on that issue. We want to win and fight always.
"We are very proud because we are Man United players, but, of course, we should have played much better (at Anfield)."
Herrera was not only passionate in his defence of United's quality and character, but even claimed the Old Trafford pitch will aid them in their quest to progress.
"Tomorrow will be completely different," he said. "Old Trafford is different.
"The pitch is bigger, even the grass is better so it's completely different. Another game, another challenge for us and I think we're ready."