Louis van Gaal prioritising Europa League win over top four finish

by Ben Topliss

Louis van Gaal believes that winning the Europa League would be a better achievement for Manchester United than finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

Man United recorded a 1-0 win over Watford on Wednesday, meaning they are now level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City in the table, although Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a game in hand.

United take on West Bromwich Albion on Sunday before facing Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie next week. In his pre-match press conference ahead of West Brom, Van Gaal offered his take on the title race.

“I think everybody wants to win but they cannot always win,” van Gaal said.

“It is why this league is popular in the world. It is still our aim [top four] but we also have an aim to win a title, the Europa League. United have never won it. A title is always better than top four but the Champions League is our aim.”

Winning the Europa League would mean that United would automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League but it is a task easier said than done.

Getting past Liverpool will be tricky enough and then there are still a number of quality teams still in the competition. With City in awful form as of late, van Gaal will have to maintain a careful balancing act in terms of how strong a side he puts out in each competition.

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