English Premiership

Van Gaal wants two more wins

2016-05-08 14:07
Louis Van Gaal (TEAMtalk)

Norwich - Louis van Gaal is targeting two more victories in his Manchester United side's final Premier League games of the season as they continue their quest for a Champions League spot.

Juan Mata's second-half goal against second-from-bottom Norwich City secured a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday that left United fifth in the Premier League and one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City who host Arsenal on Sunday.

Anything other than victory for City would put United's bid for a top-four finish in their own hands.

FA Cup finalists United head to West Ham on Tuesday before completing their league season against Bournemouth.

"Obviously the main thing for us was to get the three points today and we did that well," United manager van Gaal said.

"I thought we looked comfortable. It was much-needed and now we can concentrate on the West Ham game.

"They (Norwich) sat back deep and let us play, they made it tough for us," the Dutchman added.

Victory came at a price as van Gaal was forced to re-think his plans when 15-goal attacker Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up.

Wayne Rooney moved further forward as the main attacking threat and it was Rooney who capitalised on Sebastian Bassong's mistake to tee-up Mata for the winner.

Martial is a doubt for the West Ham game as is full back Matteo Darmian who was stretchered off in the first half following a clash with Norwich defender Ivo Pinto.

Darmian's knee injury was the more serious of the two and the Italian's participation at the European Championships in France, which start in June, could be at risk.

"We don't know the extent of the injuries to either at this stage but it was a blow for everybody because we had to change my plans," said van Gaal.

"With Wayne Rooney up front after Anthony was injured in the warm-up we had to adapt but he did the job today. When players are out of the team, it can be hard to fill the void but we did that today.

"Especially here it is a tight pitch and it's a battle to draw out points like that, but they all count at the end of the season.

"I was expecting them (Norwich) to press more but they let us play. Our focus now is recovery, we have got to prepare right mentally as there will be a good atmosphere there (West Ham) and hopefully we will get the job done there as well."

Norwich will now need Sunderland and Newcastle to slip up if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

Alex Neil's side have lost four games in a row, without scoring in any of them and if Sunderland beat Everton on Wednesday, the Canaries will be playing in the Championship next season.

"That (Saturday's) game is a repeat of a our season," said Norwich manager Neil.

"There have been so many times where we have been in the game, played pretty well.

"I thought the first 10-15 (minutes) we played well and applied good pressure. We had a really good chance and had a couple of bits and pieces around by the box.

"Generally when teams have that spell, that's when they get the goal. We didn't get the goal but I thought we limited Manchester United and they didn't really hurt us in anyway shape or form.

"John Ruddy didn't have a save to make until the goal went in. And that is off the back of another mistake that has happened quite a few times for us this year.

"It is not over but it is a major blow."


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