Louis van Gaal is confident of leading Manchester United into the Champions League after Sunday’s 1-0 derby win at Manchester City.
The 171st Manchester derby was always likely to have a huge impact on the remainder of the campaign, with City hoping to keep their faint title hopes alive and United looking to avoid their top-four hopes being extinguished.
Van Gaal admitted in the build-up to Sunday’s match that defeat would all but end their Champions League hopes, but his side produced a manful display to close the gap on misfiring City.
Marcus Rashford’s first-half strike at the Etihad Stadium saw his first Manchester derby end in a 1-0 win, making his manager believe a top-four finish is still within their grasp.
“I have said in advance that we must win this game and we have done it, so I am very happy because otherwise the gap was too big if they won,” Van Gaal said.
“Or a draw is still four points, eight matches to go, so then it should be very difficult.
“Now it is in our own hands, I think. We have to win our games, we have more home matches than away matches. We don’t lose so much at Old Trafford so we have a big chance.”