Van Gaal bullish over United stay

Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal.
Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • The battle for fourth place reaches a climax today but Louis van Gaal is apparently in a relaxed mood. The Dutchman was on Friday talking with certainty about being at Manchester United next season.

More realistically, his job security may hinge on his team overhauling Manchester City on the Premier League's final day to claim a Champions League berth. That has the look of an uphill task - United must win at home to Bournemouth and hope Manchester City lose at Swansea.

With the title secured by Leicester City and the relegation places settled, the most significant question to be answered in the top flight involves Manchester's two biggest clubs battling over one prestigious and lucrative slot.

Van Gaal, who could still end the season with a trophy should his side beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final a week later, said he expects to be in place as manager next year when assessing his performance.

"I am always evaluating and always adapting to the situation where we stand," he said.

"It's always the same. You have to evaluate yourself but also your staff and players, and then with that kind of people you have to communicate and listen to each other and that I'm doing. That shall be done also next season.

"And I have said I shall be here. That is my opinion, so the board has to decide if it is like that."

While van Gaal's fate is unclear, Manuel Pellegrini will certainly be leaving Manchester City at the season's end. He said he had not watched United's midweek defeat at West Ham, where a win for the visitors would have taken them above his team.

That helping hand from Slaven Bilic's side means City's fate remains in their own hands and Pellegrini said there would be no urgency at Swansea to keep tabs on events at Old Trafford.

"We don't need to know the other scores, so we won't be thinking about anything more," he said.

"That's why it's important that you depend only on what you can do. We need to play well and focus on that game, nothing more. When you are depending on what other teams do, it is very difficult to focus on your game. You can make your best efforts but it doesn't depend on what you do so that is very important in the mind of players."

With City's final position in the balance, the Chilean, who will make way for Pep Guardiola after today, said, "There is no bitterness."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Van Gaal bullish over United stay'. Subscribe