Manchester: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has asserted that his players are relaxed and happy after their Europa Cup victory over Danish minnows Midtjylland.
United had lost 1-2 in the first leg of their round of 32 tie in Denmark on February 18. But the former English Premier League (EPL) champions qualified for the pre-quarterfinals in some style by thrashing Midtjylland 5-1 at Old Trafford here on Friday.
“I have never seen the dressing room quite so happy and relaxed. Not only the players who played, but those on the bench and those who are injured, they were all laughing and talking with each other and happy. It has been quite a long time since that happened,” van Gaal told the British media after the match.
United have a tough schedule ahead, starting with strong EPL contenders Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday.
They will face fellow EPL outfit Liverpool in the next round of the Europa Cup when they host the first leg on March 17 before taking on Manchester City in an EPL tie three days later.
Van Gaal, aware that the Danish minnows might not have represented the highest level of European competition, cautioned that his wards may not find it easy to negotiate the tough schedule.
“Arsenal away from home was the only time this season we have lost 3-0. We can take confidence into the game from our last win but we have to play against one of the best teams in the Premier League, and we have to do it after playing on a Thursday evening.
“That is more of a challenge but I think the recovery shall go better than ever after winning so well,” the 64-year-old remarked.
“The media rated Midtjylland as not the most exciting opponent but I have another opinion. I have analysed Midtjylland and say it’s not so easy. They have a very organised defence, so in scoring five goals and creating 15 chances we played a fantastic game but we now have to do it against Arsenal. In my opinion Arsenal is another level,” he added.