Video - Van Gaal: Close is not enough, Man Utd have to win

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal admits expectations needs to be high at Man Utd after all
Van Gaal admits expectations needs to be high at Man Utd after all

Louis van Gaal has admitted his Manchester United players are under huge pressure to deliver silverware in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley.

Van Gaal looks set to be sacked unless he collects his first trophy as United manager this weekend and not even a win against Palace may not keep him in his after he failed to secure a Champions League finish in his second season at Old Trafford.

Many United supporters have been infuriated by Van Gaal’s suggestions in recent days that expectations around his team are too high, yet he changed that tune a little in his pre-Wembley press conference.

“A club like Manchester United needs silverware,” he said ahead of the clash with Alan Pardew’s Palace. “Close is not enough. You have to win it

“I think the interest of the club is much more important and the interest of the fans is more important than those of the manager.

“Of course, you have your own aims and that’s one of the aims I have had always, so it’s always exciting when you are so close, but you always want to win it.

“You must win these games. In one match you can lose a lot. You have to cope with that pressure.”

Van Gaal stated his eagerness to win titles with United following his arrival at the club in the summer of 2014 and that was viewed as a vow to bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford, but the Dutchman has clarified that comment.

“A title is the FA Cup or championship, because they can look and hold the trophy,” he continued. “We are playing in the most prestigious temple in England, so everything has confirmed how important this trophy is.

“It is a while since we won anything, so it’s very good if we win something. We have played four matches of the six away, so I think we deserve something also, I think.”

Van Gaal believes Palace’s chief threat in Saturday’s Wembley clash will come from set-plays, but he refused to confirm whether he was planning to recall Marouane Fellaini to give his side a little more aerial presence.

“You have to wait and see the line-up,” he added.  “If I say something about that, then Alan Pardew knows the line-up. They have scored 29 of 56 goals out of set-plays. It’s a lot more than us.

“Our starting point is to win well and score beautiful goals. But if we win 1-0, that is also enough. Winning is the most important thing in a final, otherwise you have nothing.”

Van Gaal also reflected on his own FA Cup memories, as he looked back on his first memories of watching Tottenham and Jimmy Greaves playing in Wembkey finals.