| 18.1°C Dublin

Van Gaal believes he can't lose again


Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal


Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal accepts that he has run out of wriggle room and cannot afford to lose again this season.

"I cannot afford it and Manchester United cannot afford it, but in sport you can win and lose," he said.

It has been another rocky campaign at Old Trafford but the Dutchman may have one final, outside shot at redemption if Manchester United can put together a flawless run-in.

Maximum points against Norwich, West Ham and Bournemouth could give the Red Devils a chance of leapfrogging neighbours Manchester City into the top four, with Crystal Palace waiting in the FA Cup final after that.

A Champions League spot and a first major trophy since Alex Ferguson's exit in 2013 would ease some of the pressure on Van Gaal, which means the stakes are high from the moment United kick off at Carrow Road.

“We have to win our matches because otherwise we cannot be in the first four - that’s the pressure that we have,” continued Van Gaal. “We have to fight until the end. “We are always able to do that, I think, that’s my belief, because of our quality. “I want to win the FA Cup also, not only the Champions League qualification. “Because I think the FA Cup is a very important title in England.

“The pressure is high for everybody but it is also also high for Norwich because they have to win otherwise they can say goodbye to the Premier League.” The Canaries’ plight at the foot of the table, where they are battling to avoid joining the already-relegated Aston Villa in the Championship, adds an extra element to the fixture. So too does the fact that they won the previous meeting 2-1 at Old Trafford, arguably the high point of their campaign.

That result, which came in the midst of United’s bleak and winless December, has not escaped Van Gaal’s attention either. “They won at Old Trafford, so we have to take revenge,” he said. “It’s always a difficult thing when you have to fight against a team that is fighting to maintain their position in the Premier League from relegation. “That’s always very difficult to fight against, but that is not an excuse. We have to cope with that. “It shall be a very tough game but in spite of that we have to win.”