Lack of creativity has cost us, admits Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal believes the lack of creativity in his squad has been the difference between Manchester United and Tottenham as the two clubs chase contrasting targets in the closing weeks of the season.
While Tottenham are looking to overhaul Leicester City to win the Premier League, United are scrambling around to try to finish fourth and gain entry into next season's Champions League.
Tonight they face potential FA Cup final opponents Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Tottenham's 4-0 victory over Stoke City on Monday night suggested that they could yet wipe out a five-point deficit but Van Gaal insists the gulf between his side and Mauricio Pochettino's free-scoring outfit is not too great.
Van Gaal, who earlier this month had claimed that United are a bigger club despite watching his side concede three goals in seven minutes to lose 3-0 at Spurs, said: "We have beaten Tottenham 1-0 (in August) and until the 70th minute (at White Hart Lane) I think we were the better team but then (we had) a miscommunication.
"So I don't think there is a lot of distance between Tottenham and Manchester United, but the distance is in points.
"They have won more, they are scoring more and that's because they have more creative players."
United have scored just 40 goals in 33 league games to trail Spurs by 12 points. Van Gaal spent more than £100m on new players last summer but his best play-maker remains Juan Mata, who does not always play.
United's hopes of finishing in the top four are helped by the fact that Manchester City and Arsenal, in third and fourth, still have to play each other.
"I'm not interested in who is vulnerable. I'm only interested that we win our games because we have to close that gap," said Van Gaal.
United play Everton in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday and Van Gaal is looking for Wayne Rooney to prove his fitness tonight in his third game back from injury: "We have to see how he is feeling. And still he has to play good."