• Premier League

Manchester United have eyes on City in top four 'rat race'

ESPN staff
March 15, 2015
Louis van Gaal also had praise for his vice captain Michael Carrick © Getty Images

Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United have dragged Manchester City back into the rat race to qualify for the Champions League.

United beat Tottenham, rivals for a top-four place, 3-0 at Old Trafford to go two points behind second-placed City, who lost 1-0 at Burnley on Saturday.

And while Van Gaal feels it is all but impossible for his team to catch league leaders Chelsea and win the Premier League title, he feels the defending champions will have to compete with several others for the right to play in Europe's premier club competition next season.

"Of course because Arsenal is one point behind [City] and we are two points behind," Van Gaal said. "It is good for us and the fans and the media.

"It is a rat race and we are now two points from the second position but the first position is eight points [ahead] and still a game [in hand] so in my opinion that is too far away. We have to go step by step and the next game is Liverpool."

Van Gaal will assess the video to determine if the Tottenham game was United's best performance of the season but conceded they have been expecting a display of such distinction for ages.

"We have waited a long time for such a victory so maybe because the performance was very good against a very good team so I am very pleased," he added.

"We played like a team. We can be very pleased with the performance, the result and our reaction to the defeat against Arsenal. When you get a blow like that from Arsenal you need a fantastic team spirit and individual spirit, and I saw that.

"When you score goals, your confidence raises and you can pass more quickly, but Tottenham wanted to play also and you always need two teams who want to play and you have more space to play football."

Van Gaal went on to single out his vice-captain for praise after Michael Carrick made the first goal, which was scored by Marouane Fellaini, and finished the second.

"Michael Carrick is not my second captain for nothing," he added. "He is one of the best passers also, not only wide but also forward. We need midfielders who have that passing. When you can also score the second goal you have a big influence in the game."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close