Van Gaal un­fazed . . . even if City have shot to ruin sea­son

The Herald - Herald Sport - - IN ENGLAND - STEVE NAILOR

LOUIS VAN GAAL ad­mits Manch­ester United’s dis­ap­point­ing Bar­clays Premier League cam­paign could reach a crescendo in this week­end’s derby against City – not that the Dutch­man is feel­ing any pres­sure.

Fresh from be­ing knocked out of the Europa League by bit­ter ri­vals Liverpool, the in­con­sis­tent United make the short jour­ney to the Eti­had Sta­dium for a mouth-wa­ter­ing en­counter.

Manuel Pel­le­grini’s men cur­rently re­side in the fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League spot and boast a four-point cush­ion over sixth-placed United with just nine matches re­main­ing.

They are cir­cum­stances that have not stressed un­der-fire van Gaal, though, al­beit he con­cedes de­feat to­mor­row would likely end his team’s top-four as­pi­ra­tions.

“We are now four points be­hind, so you have to win oth­er­wise the gap is big­ger and big­ger and the [num­ber of] matches you have to play are not so big,” the United boss said.

“I think with a gap of seven points and with eight matches then it is very [hard] to re­cover from that gap.

“It is still pos­si­ble but it is dif­fi­cult be­cause West Ham are also in front, not only City.

“I am never feel­ing pres­sure. “I do what I have to do.” West Ham now lie be­tween the two Manch­ester sides and also stand in United’s way in the FA Cup, with the

I am un­der teams set to do bat­tle in a quar­ter-fi­nal re­play at the Bo­leyn Ground fol­low­ing the in­ter­na­tional break.

Po­ten­tial cup suc­cess and a shot at Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion is keep­ing this dif­fi­cult cam­paign tick­ing over, but de­feat to­mor­row would see ques­tions about van Gaal’s fu­ture in­crease.

Jose Mour­inho’s con­tin­ued un­em­ploy­ment leaves a shadow over the Dutch­man, de­spite the United man­ager hav­ing a year re­main­ing on his three­year con­tract.

“I don’t dis­cuss that with you,” van Gaal said of his fu­ture.

“Ev­ery day, when we are los­ing or out of Europa League, you put the ques­tions but why?

“I have a three-year con­tract and the process is three years.

“For four months now you have been writ­ing I shall be sacked. I have read that four months al­ready. You think that is log­i­cal, nor­mal?

“Ex­pec­ta­tions can be too high. Our pur­pose was to reach the top three be­cause we want to do bet­ter than last year.

“But then you have to an­a­lyse the cir­cum­stances, how I have to work. I don’t re­peat my­self. You are re­peat­ing putting the same ques­tions when I am los­ing or out of the Europa League.”

Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal. Pic­ture: Martin Rick­ett/PA Wire.

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