Sunday 22 April 2018

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal targets title despite recent slump

Louis van Gaal is aiming for Man Utd to finish at the top of the league despite their current slump in form
Louis van Gaal is aiming for Man Utd to finish at the top of the league despite their current slump in form

Paul Hirst

Louis van Gaal still has his eyes on the Premier League title despite Manchester United's recent rotten run of form.

United were top of the table last month, but have slipped to sixth in the standings after a poor sequence of six league games without a win.

"We need to win because we want to be at the end (of the season) in the top of the league, and not the middle of the league," the United manager said.

Angry at reports he was about to be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho, Van Gaal walked out of his last press conference at Carrington after taking just three questions.

But the Dutchman was in a far more co-operative mood at his latest press briefing at the club's training ground on New Year's Eve ahead of the clash with Swansea.

Although United failed to beat Chelsea on Monday, the team's performance in the goalless stalemate was encouraging enough to prevent a fan revolt.

Van Gaal admits the pressure is still on him, however, as he cannot afford for the nine-point gap between United and leaders Arsenal to get any bigger.

Van Gaal added: "We have to get points otherwise the gap is too big and that is why we have to do what we have to do.

"We have to work, prepare the game, perform and then evaluate the game again. That is of course much more difficult when you don't win than when you win."

The pressure on Van Gaal will increase if United fail to beat Swansea at Old Trafford on Saturday.

"You have to show it for 90 minutes against the resistance of the opponent and also under the pressure of the environment and the pressure you put yourself under," said Van Gaal, who has lost all three games against Swansea since becoming United manager.

"And you have to cope with that.

"I was three times lost against Swansea, and then you have to evaluate why you lost. It is always like that, then you continue with the same vicious circle of working.

"There is no magic, it is looking at what has happened and what can improve, as a team but also as an individual player."

After exiting the Champions League and failing to win any of their last eight matches in all competitions, United are ending the year on a low point.

But Van Gaal insists the vast majority of 2015 should be regarded as a success for the club.

"When you don't assess December it was a very good year, 2015," Van Gaal said.

"But you can not do that because a year has 12 months.

"I think we have fulfilled the wish and our aim in the first season and after that we have managed to give balance to the team and that resulted in October or November we were first.

"Then we are out of the Champions League and that gives us a big blow."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport