Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes his side’s victory over Manchester City has set them up perfectly to finish third in the Premier League.
Man United were excellent at Old Trafford as they made it six wins in their last six games.
The result made Champions League qualification a near certainty as United lifted themselves nine points clear of fifth-placed Southampton.
Van Gaal is now aiming to finish third in order to automatically qualify for Europe’s elite competition and admitted he was delighted to give Man United fans the derby day win.
Speaking after the City game, van Gaal said: ”I’m very proud and very happy for the fans. It means a lot for the fans and we want to give it to the fans. The players heard the boost from the crowd.
“We are now four points ahead of City in third place which is very important because it gets you automatic qualification into the Champions League. We started badly, there was a lot of stress building up and because of that we went 1-0 behind. But we have good team spirit and came back. The second half was fantastic.
“Against Tottenham and Liverpool, I was talking about the first half, but now I am speaking about the second half performance. We are making steps in our process and it’s too early to expect it (the perfect performance). The goal we set was to get into the first four and I’ll be very pleased if we reach that goal. I said it would not be easy and we still have six matches to play. It is not done yet but we are on our way.”
United have been stop start this season but they have really turned it on towards the end of the campaign.
As well as City, van Gaal’s side beat the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool during their six-game winning streak. Coupled with the form of players such as Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Michael Carrick, the run has led to a fresh wave of optimism engulfing Old Trafford.