The Dutchman’s side have now won four matches in a row, their best run all season, and are now level on points in the Premier League with fourth-placed Manchester City.
Man United travel to West Brom on Sunday in an attempt to record five wins in a row for just the third time since van Gaal took over in July 2014. Speaking after the game, van Gaal discussed the importance of converting the confidence gained from tonight’s win into a good performance against West Brom.
“We have to win also against West Brom,” said Van Gaal.
“Because we have to continue this, and then you’re close again [to the contenders]. Against Arsenal, we played very well, and today was more of a fighting game. Watford were making it very difficult for us, so the victory tastes very good, especially when our competitors have lost.”
United’s sudden upturn in results has conveniently paired with Manchester City and Arsenal both capitulating, leaving the race for Champions League spots wide open.
The game at West Brom, which has suddenly grown in importance after tonight’s events, precedes a mammoth month for van Gaal’s side: they take on Liverpool in Europe for the first time, play West Ham in the FA Cup for a place at Wembley, and travel to City all in the space of a few weeks. Any United, then, would acknowledge that now would signify the ideal time for their side to enter a purple patch, such is the season-defining nature of this month.