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We must be more ruthless says LVG

Louis van Gaal (below) has told his Manchester United side they must be more ruthless if they are to win the Premier League title in 2015.

United failed to finish a trying 2014 with a flourish, drawing 0-0 at Tottenham, and require a memorable end-of-season run to overhaul Chelsea and Manchester City to claim a title which Van Gaal insists is still not beyond them.

"When you play your best first half of the season as Manchester United, at White Hart Lane, a top-six club of the Premier League and you play like that, create six to eight chances, open chances, you have to finish that," said Van Gaal, whose side drew a second straight away game.

"I said this also in the dressing room: when you cannot win such a type of match when you are the better team against Aston Villa and also now, it's very difficult to be the champion at the end of the season.

"Still (I think we can win). We are improving every week. I was very happy with the first half."

Asked if United will be improved in 2015 after a fraught last 12 months, Van Gaal, who last summer succeeded the sacked David Moyes, added: "Of course. Of course. Of course, we shall be better. So, watch."

United named an unchanged starting XI for the first time since November 2012, in 85 Premier League games, but it was out of necessity, according to Van Gaal.

The Dutchman described the second half of the goalless draw at Tottenham as "a struggle for life" after outlining his frustrations with a fixture schedule which demanded two Premier League matches in fewer than 48 hours.

Van Gaal said: "You could see the difference in the second half - it was not football, it was a struggle for life."

3see pages 62-63