Manchester: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has asserted that the former English Premier League (EPL) champions are in the running for the fourth place after their dominant win over Crystal Palace at home.
Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Wednesday night to consolidate their hold on the fifth position. They are currently on 59 points with four games to go, one point behind fourth place Arsenal and have an excellent chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“Of course we are in the race and we are two points behind City. It is not an easy opponent because they will defend, probably, and it is always difficult. You have seen Arsenal against Crystal Palace – it is always difficult,” van Gaal told the local media after the match.
The 64-year-old former Netherlands coach was happy with his players’ performance, adding that they could have scored more goals but for several excellent saves from Crystal Palace’s veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
“Yes I was very happy with the performance and I think it was a four or five to zero game. We should have finished it much earlier and scored much more goals. We created a lot of chances and we did not give any chances away — one, maybe, in the first half for (Emmanuel) Adebayor,” van Gaal said.
United will play their next match on Saturday — an FA Cup semi-final against struggling Everton FC. Despite boasting several talented players in their line-up, Everton have not lived up to their potential this season and were thrashed 0-4 by arch-rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.
Van Gaal however, warned that United cannot afford to take Everton lightly.
“Selection (for the semi-final) is not so difficult because you are following what you see, what your philosophy is, what the game plan is. Now you have to convince the players why you select that way. That is much more important,” the former Barcelona manager said.
“Of course the semi-final is not nothing. I came to England to win titles and now are very close. But first we have to beat Everton and that is not so easy. Also when they have lost to Liverpool 4-0, with 10 men it is difficult against Liverpool I think.”