Monday 18 December 2017

LVG: Anfield win a big title boost

United boss believes victory will re-ignite Premier quest

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal in the Premier League win over Liverpool at Anfield Photo: PA
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal in the Premier League win over Liverpool at Anfield Photo: PA
Wayne Rooney fires home the winner against Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the 1-0 win at arch-rivals Liverpool can re-ignite their Premier League title challenge.

Wayne Rooney's 78th-minute strike - the visitors' only shot on target at Anfield - settled a game low on quality and chances.

It left United within seven points of leaders Arsenal and Van Gaal has not ruled out a late charge for the summit.

"We have a lot of matches still to go," said the Dutchman.

"We started 2016 very good with a lot of wins and I think this game will give a big boost to the players and the fans, and everyone in the environment of Manchester United.

"We have to continue, which is not so easy. We have seen that today but we can do it because we show every week we can do it."

Asked whether it was his best day of the season, Van Gaal added: "No, I don't think so. You have to see it always in perspective.

"It is a fantastic win for the fans, for me and the players and it will give us a boost, and maybe in that perspective you are right.

"There are matches we have played much better than today, and in that perspective I can't say it is a good day because Liverpool were the better team in the first half and normally we are dominating games.

"I have to admit we survived the first half because Liverpool were more aggressive, we could not create anything.

"They have created in the first half three chances and that was surviving, but to beat Liverpool is always important.

"When I see this game then I think we can still improve but it was still good enough to win at Liverpool away."

The fact United were able to leave Anfield with three points was largely down to David de Gea, who was by far the busier goalkeeper.

However, although the Spain international was named man of the match, Van Gaal saw nothing but De Gea's usual high standards.

"He is always reaching a very high level so I am very happy, but I cannot say that today he has done a lot," he said.

"He has stopped the balls that he had to stop. Maybe the one with one hand (from Emre Can in the second half), maybe but I think he has to save it. I think a goalkeeper has to do it.

"I demand it and I demand it also of the players. That is why he is playing for Manchester United."

Meanwhile, Rooney was delighted to score the winning goal, taking his United tally in the Premier League to 176 - more than any player has managed for one club.

"I think everyone knows the importance of this game, regardless of positions," he said.

"It is a massive game for both football clubs, for the fans and it was a great victory. It's three points we needed to continue this start to the year. It's a massive victory for us.

"Obviously it's great to have records but I don't think that'll beat the feeling I've got now.

"I scored the winning goal at Anfield it has been a long time since that happened for me - my first year at United - so I will be a bit selfish today and enjoy that more than most."

Rooney's goal proved decisive but goalkeeper David de Gea was named man of the match after a fine display.

"They had some chance but we defended really well," he said. "After that, Wayne scored a fantastic goal and we beat Liverpool.

"I hope that victory gives us a lot of confidence and hopefully we can get three or four wins in a row. That is what we want."

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