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Sunday 4 December 2016

Wayne Rooney: 'We'll challenge for the title next season'

Wayne Rooney in action
Wayne Rooney in action

Wayne Rooney insists Manchester United will mount a serious title challenge next season.

A difficult first season of the Louis van Gaal era ended with a somewhat underwhelming 0-0 draw at Hull on Sunday. Despite a disappointing run of one win in their final six games, United achieved their aim of Champions League qualification - but Rooney is hungry for so much more.

The United skipper is used to challenging for titles and that is what he wants to be doing next season. Van Gaal's team finished 17 points behind this year's winners Chelsea, but Rooney insists the gap between the two teams is capable of being bridged.

"I believe we are (close)," the United captain said. "You take the first 10 games and I think we had 13 points.

"When you consider from after that amount of games to where we've finished, we've probably got as many points after that as anyone else. You can see in our performances, we're outplaying teams, dominating possession, and it's just that final thing of taking our chances.

Van Gaal heads to the Algarve this week for a much-needed break.

He has already started planning for next season. He held meetings with the players he wants out of the club over the weekend. One of them was Radamel Falcao, who has been told he can return to Monaco after scoring just four goals during his loan spell at Old Trafford.

United are desperate to keep David de Gea away from Real Madrid, but should he leave, Victor Valdes did his chances of replacing his compatriot no harm on Sunday. "He was terrific," said Phil Jones. "He pulled off some wonderful saves. He is a great goalkeeper."

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