05 Feb Van Gaal: Man Utd can still win the title
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal feels his side can still win the title this season.
Van Gaal feels United played some “sparkling football” in the midweek win over Stoke and another victory at Chelsea on Sunday would reignite their campaign.
His comments come less than a fortnight after a dismal loss to Southampton that saw United and Van Gaal booed at Old Trafford and intensified speculation over his future.
But United got back to winning ways with victory at Derby in the FA Cup and then switched to a more attacking style to brush Stoke aside 3-0.
They are still 10 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester but Van Gaal claims the gap is not insurmountable.
He said: “I have the feeling that when we shall beat Chelsea – and that is not simple, that is very difficult, since Guus Hiddink has been there they don’t lose any more – I think our competition, our league is starting again. That is very important.
“The competition is not yet finished, not for Manchester United or the other teams.
“We have the feeling, and that’s because we are winning twice in a row and with sparkling football – with goals and clean sheets, against opponents who were in great form. Stoke City played Liverpool off the pitch in the Capital One Cup but they lost on penalties.”
Van Gaal is also hopeful of taking his side to the Europa League final, if his comments on left-back Luke Shaw are anything to go by.
Shaw suffered a double leg break in the Champions League game at PSV Eindhoven in September but has been included in United’s squad for the Europa League in the second half of the season.
Van Gaal said: “He can play the final. That I have said to him. That is a goal that he has to live for. It is possible, not impossible in my opinion.”
Van Gaal may be expecting a tough test against Hiddink’s side at Stamford Bridge but was unwilling to engage in conversation about his fellow former Dutch national boss at his latest press conference.
The pair are two of Holland’s most successful managers of recent times but are not close.
Asked what his past dealings with Hiddink were like, Van Gaal said: “Professional.”
In the past, Holland international Wesley Sneijder has described Van Gaal as a “tough schoolteacher” and Hiddink as a “friendly uncle”.
Van Gaal was also unwilling to comment on those remarks.
He said: “It is his feeling. When he says that it is his feeling.”