Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has declared that his team are “still in business” in the race for a top-four place after they secured a 1-0 win at Norwich City on Saturday.
The Dutchman felt that his team were affected by the heat but did not regret leaving out forward Anthony Martial, who said that a hamstring felt tight during the warm-up. With striker Marcus Rashford left out of the squad in order to rest him, United were left short of strikers.
Van Gaal told BT Sport:
“We are still in business. I said that to the players. Last week, it was cold, and now it’s 35 degrees. You saw it in the players’ faces. They were very tired, but we won
“We keep the pressure on our competitors and hope we can achieve the Champions League place because we want to play at the highest level.”
United are just a point behind fourth-placed City but are four adrift of Arsenal, who are third, with key fixtures coming up in the race for a top-four place, including Manchester City hosting Arsenal on Sunday then United playing away at West Ham United on Tuesday.
Van Gaal said:
“Tomorrow, I will be a Gunners fan. Especially after the defeat against Real Madrid, it won’t be so easy for Manchester City to revive.”
Discussing leaving out Rashford, he added: “You cannot recreate your decisions. You have seen today that players need a rest.
“We have to wait and see with Martial. I’m a manager who is not taking [the] risk. When a player says he feels something, he doesn’t play, especially in this weather.
“[Matteo] Damian had a kick on his ankle [during the game] and we have to wait and see with him.”
United midfielder Juan Mata scored the winning goal and admitted that the most important thing was the result, as Van Gaal’s men produced an unconvincing display at times.
The Spaniard said: “Today was about winning. We want to play football, and create chances. At some moments, we did that. At the end, we won.”