Louis van Gala has admitted that losing to Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final on Monday will not be too great a disappointment, as long as Manchester United finish inside the top four of the Premier League come the end of the season.
That is not to say that the Old Trafford boss is not going to do all he can to notch a second win of the season over Arsene Wenger, he still wants to go through, but Van Gaal was open about the targets he was set at the end of the season.
Some would think a trip to Wembley Stadium and an FA Cup final could be just the tonic for the beleaguered Manchester United fans this season, and Van Gaal wants to give it to them, but he’s not going to lose much sleep if the Gunners prevail at Old Trafford.
"Of course, as a manager you always want to win things," the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
"I am no different and I can tell you that we shall do our best against Arsenal, but I also say this: My target at the start of this season was to finish in the top four and that is till my target. If I have a priority, then it is the top four.”
It’s not exactly an inspiring pre-match rallying cry from Van Gaal and his words could be construed as some indicator that his team selection on Monday night may include few names of players who are not playing a great deal this season - that would be a huge mistake.
Arsenal are on a run of decent form in the Premier League and getting one over on them in the FA Cup, knocking them out of the cup they won last season, could have a massive effect on their form for the remainder of the season.
Top four and the Champions League places are Manchester United’s priority, but that will be less likely if one of their biggest rivals for those places wins at a venue they have not done for nearly a decade and take a big step towards retaining their first trophy in nine years.
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