Louis van Gaal insists Manchester United have not yet given up hope of winning the title this season, despite being eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Reds were being written off for a top-four finish, after defeats to Southampton and Swansea City and a draw at West Ham United allowed the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to move within striking distance. However, the Old Trafford club have beaten both of their two closest rivals in their last two matches, playing some fine football in the process.
This means United have a five-point lead over the club from Anfield and six ahead of the White Hart Lane men, and this has left them looking up at third-place Arsenal and second-place Manchester City. Yet van Gaal has set his sights even higher, and the Dutch coach has given up hope of overhauling Chelsea who currently have an eight point advantage over his side and a game in hand.
“You never know,” said van Gaal ahead of the visit of Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. “I have said at the end we shall find out. Still, we can win the title, mathematically. I’m not surprised. What I’ve seen in the last five matches I think so but we have to wait and see because if you lose two times in a row you are not so sure any more. What I’ve said already is that every team in England can beat you.”
If United do manage to win a record-extending 21st title this season, it would undoubtedly rank amongst the greatest achievements of their recent history. Under David Moyes they finished seventh last term, their lowest position since the inception of the Premier League, and despite the money invested in their squad last summer, that target this time round was fourth place.