Louis van Gaal believes his Manchester United side’s hopes of a Champions League finish are very much alive following Sunday’s 1-0 derby win over Manchester City.
A first-half strike from youngster Marcus Rashford was enough for the Red Devils to close the gap on their fourth-placed neighbours to just a single point, with West Ham sandwiched between the pair in fifth.
However, after previously admitting their chances of playing in Europe’s top club competition next season would have been all but over had they lost at the Etihad, van Gaal now has a new source of optimism.
Next up for United after the international break is inconsistent Everton at home on April 3, before a tricky trip to title-chasing Tottenham the following weekend.
After Sunday’s win, the Red Devils are priced at 2.50 to make the top four, while City are 1.60 and the Hammers 6.00.
Speaking after the game, van Gaal was optimistic about his team’s ambitions and believes they are now right back in the mix for that final Champions League place.
“I have said in advance that we must win this game and we have done it, so I am very happy because otherwise the gap was too big if they won,” he said. “Or a draw is still four points, eight matches to go, so then it should be very difficult.
“Now it is in our own hands, I think. We have to win our games, we have more home matches than away matches. We don’t lose so much at Old Trafford so we have a big chance.”