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Press Conference: Leicester City, injuries and pressure to earn UEFA Champions League place

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal sat with the media again on Friday afternoon ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash with champions-elect Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United are a team in-form currently, winning their last four matches after their 3-0 capitulation away to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the month. United are still battling for a top-four place in the league this season and face Crystal Palace at Wembley in the Emirates FA Cup final, after beating Everton 2-1 last Saturday. Louis van Gaal has been under fire for much of the year after it was speculated that he would be sacked before Christmas, which just was not the case. More speculation seems to be rife with Jose Mourinho waiting in the wings to take over as Manchester United manager this summer. Time will tell though as to whether that actually happens. Here are the main points from the press conference.

Louis van Gaal when asked about injuries in an interview with MUTV:

“We don’t have any injuries, except Shaw, who is already not injured anymore but is building up, and Schweinsteiger.”

Van Gaal when asked if Luke Shaw could play in the Emirates FA Cup final:

“He can, maybe, but it shall be difficult because he has to play first a lot of matches in the second team.

“We have to wait and see because you cannot say anything. It’s going very well with him.”

Van Gaal on Manchester United having to win all four remaining Premier League matches to chase that top four place:

“We have to close the gap so the pressure is on us still. We have to win every game that we have to play. City still have to play against Arsenal, though, so one of those shall lose points.”

Van Gaal on beating Leicester City to spoil their party:

“I think we have to beat Leicester because we are still in the race for the first positions so we have to beat them. We cannot allow that they are the champions this weekend at Old Trafford. I think they shall be the champion a week later, so we don’t spoil the party, just postpone it a little bit.”

Van Gaal on Leicester City’s title push this season and how it is good for the Premier League:

“It is good for the Premier League and the sport of football that not always the same teams are the champion.”

Van Gaal praise for Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri, who he head dealings with whilst at Barcelona, with Ranieri at Valencia:

“It was always difficult to beat his teams. 

“Valencia against Barcelona is more or less a derby, so it’s always a difficult match and he has always organised his teams very well.”

Van Gaal on the pressure still being on Manchester United to qualify for the UEFA Champions League:

“We have to close the gap so the pressure is on us still. We have to win every game that we have to play. 

“City still have to play against Arsenal, though, so one of those shall lose points.”

This season has not been the best for Manchester United. Injuries have caused problems, the blooding of youth has seen United not as ruthless as they could have been, but the changes the manager made, needed to be made for the club to move forward. United will benefit from the things the Dutchman has implemented at the club, but with patience lacking amongst the clubs supporters, most of whom constantly moan on social media, expecting to be heard, despite the fact many will have never been to Old Trafford, or put money into the club like hundreds of thousands of other supporters do. Pathetic is the key word here. Yes, the football has not been brilliant, but to expect that each and every season is just pathetic. Football is a game, there are winners and there are losers. If you cannot deal with being the latter, you should not salivate in being a winner.

The injury crisis is reaching an end with only Luke Shaw, who is doing well in his return to first team football and Bastian Schweinsteiger remaining on the sidelines. United’s squad has been strengthened with many players returning from injury over the last few weeks, which will give the manager more balance for the final matches of the season, starting with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United need to beat the champions-elect, keeping their hopes of a top-four finish in good stead. United will have two matches in hand over Arsenal before they kick a ball on Sunday, and if Arsenal drop points again, they will have the advantage over the North London club. Just imagine the noise coming from the Emirates if they fail to finish in their favoured fourth place this season. A lot of work is needed before we can get there, not just from United, which leaves it all in the hands of Arsenal to buckle under the pressure, or fight on and earn their fourth place spot for the umpteenth time in the last few seasons.

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