We'll win the EPL soon: Van Gaal

United captain Wayne Rooney hopes to end his 10-year wait for a goal at Anfield against rivals Liverpool. He has scored four goals in his last three games.
United captain Wayne Rooney hopes to end his 10-year wait for a goal at Anfield against rivals Liverpool. He has scored four goals in his last three games.PHOTO: REUTERS

United boss says his team will not suffer a title drought but admits it may take some time

LONDON • Louis van Gaal believes that there is little prospect of Manchester United suffering the same fate as Liverpool by going 26 years without winning the Premier League title.

Yet, the United manager admitted that, with his team underperforming, the club's supporters may face a longer wait than they would wish for the Red Devils to win the title again.

Liverpool were last crowned champions of England in 1990 but van Gaal - who takes his struggling side to Anfield today with United at risk of missing out on the top four for the second time in three seasons - does not expect his flailing club to witness such a drought since their last league title in 2013.

"I am part of the transition so I cannot imagine that shall happen with Manchester United," van Gaal said. "But, as you say, when it's happening to Liverpool it can happen to Manchester United, but I cannot imagine that because we are in transition and we are going in the right way.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

But, as you say, when it's happening to Liverpool it can happen to Manchester United, but I cannot imagine that because we are in transition and we are going in the right way.

LOUIS VAN GAAL , saying that United will not be like Liverpool, who have gone 26 years without winning the top-flight title.

"Maybe it shall take a longer time (to win the title again) but I cannot imagine that it shall be the same for Manchester United (as Liverpool) - it's too big (a club), too well organised and we have an infrastructure and we are improving that every year."

Despite spending a total of roughly £350 million (S$718.3 million) under van Gaal and David Moyes, United's fortunes have plummeted since Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013 after delivering the club's 20th championship and a third season without the title beckons.

United have won only one of their past eight league matches.

Van Gaal's assertion that United are "going in the right way" does not stand up to much scrutiny, especially in light of another huge outlay in the transfer market last summer.

His team are three points, two places and seven goals worse off after 21 games than at the same stage last season and their dour style has been severely criticised.

Asked if he understood fans saying United have underperformed, van Gaal said: "Yeah, but you have to be in the top three at the end of the season, not at this moment.

"It's better to be first, I agree with that, but we are still, in the (two) years I have been here, in transition and that's maybe also the reason (for the results) but still I have to say you have to be fighting for first position.

"Now we are not fighting for first position. In those circumstances against Newcastle, you have to win. A champion has to do that."

Van Gaal has won all four of his matches against Liverpool, including a pre-season friendly in Miami in August 2014, and said he was hoping for more good fortune against the Reds, for whom he believes United have become a "ghost team", or bogey side.

He also believes a win would be a huge psychological boost and challenged Wayne Rooney to end his 10-year wait for a goal against Liverpool at Anfield.

"Liverpool is such an important opponent of United, in history, that (beating them) is more beneficial than beating other teams," he said. "When he (Rooney) scores it makes it easier for me because I have put all my money on Wayne as a striker. Remember Wayne has scored once against Liverpool and not for 10 years so he has to break that record (and) then I'm very pleased."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 17, 2016, with the headline 'WE'LL WIN THE EPL SOON: VAN GAAL'. Print Edition | Subscribe