Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has challenged his team to make amends for their Champions League humiliation by mounting a serious push to win the Premier League.
Van Gaal’s side were eliminated from Europe’s elite club competition in midweek after a 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg saw them fail to qualify from a undemanding group that also included PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow.
The United manager had endured a barrage of abuse from unhappy fans during last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against West Ham. And, with a host of former United stars including Paul Scholes and Roy Keane queueing up to question van Gaal following the European exit, the pressure is mounting as the Dutchman takes his spluttering side to Bournemouth on Saturday.
United are without a win in their last four matches in all competitions and reports claim van Gaal has lost the support of sections of his squad, with some players said to have been amazed by his decision to replace Juan Mata with the inexperienced Nick Powell against Wolfsburg.
But fourth placed United are still only three points behind leaders Leicester and van Gaal believes they can salvage the campaign with a title challenge.
“I try to (lift their spirits) but of course, the players have to do that also by themselves, they are also the professionals,” Van Gaal told MUTV.
“They need to use their tools to lift them up and we have a lot to fight for, I think. So we are very close in the Premier League to the top.
“We can fight for the FA Cup and fight also for the Europa League, so I think we have enough to fight for.”
United could be facing fourth bottom Bournemouth at the worst possible time as Eddie Howe’s team will be buoyant after their surprise win at Chelsea last weekend.