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Top four finish still possible, says Van Gaal

Manchester United's manager Louis van Gaal, seen at half-time during their English FA Cup quarter-final match against West Ham United, at Old Trafford in Manchester, on March 13, 2016

Manchester United’s manager Louis van Gaal, seen at half-time during their English FA Cup quarter-final match against West Ham United, at Old Trafford in Manchester, on March 13, 2016. PHOTO/FILE.

MANCHESTER, April 11 – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal still believes that his side are capable of finishing in the top four this season. 

United were thrashed 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and currently trail crosstown rivals Manchester City, who are in fourth place on the Premier League standings, by four points.

Despite having faith that the Red Devils can feature in the Champions League next season, Van Gaal admitted that their loss to Tottenham was a bitter pill to swallow.

“Every team can lose to everybody so still we are in the race, but of course when you lose a game you have to close the gap again and that’s more difficult,” Van Gaal told Sky Sports. “I think that Tottenham is a great team and I’ve said that also in advance of this match. Until the first goal we were the better team and also had a big chance for the first goal.

“To lose by three goals is a big negative result but the way that we have played until the first goal was good.”

Neither side was able to find the back of the net in the first half, and United striker Anthony Martial then missed a golden opportunity to put his side ahead in the 62nd minute.

Martial’s miss came back to haunt the Red Devils as Spurs went on a scoring rampage, netting three goals in the space of six minutes. It was Dele Alli who broke the deadlock in the 70th minute before, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela added their names to the scoresheet.

“I think the better chance was with us, with Martial – that was big chance,” Van Gaal said. “We gave the goal away with miscommunication and then you know what happened. Within five minutes we were out of the game.

“We didn’t clear our heads. I think it is strongly expressed because the second goal is a set play. One of our best headers loses that duel. It is also a fantastic header from Alderweireld but it is happening and it cannot happen.”

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