West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has warned his opposite number Louis van Gaal that Manchester United must challenge for the Premier League title next season, or else risk coming under the same kind of pressure that resulted in David Moyes's premature sacking at Old Trafford.
The Baggies boss brings his side to the Theatre of Dreams this weekend where the Red Devils will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats against Chelsea and Everton - the first time that has happened in the league under the veteran Dutch coach's tenure.
Van Gaal has ridden out a tough start to life in England's top-flight, and those early season concerns from supporters now seem like a distant memory as the 63-year-old's tactical approach and philosophy begins to take shape.
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Despite recent setbacks at Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park, Manchester United still appear on course to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish, which was the minimum expectation when Van Gaal took charge after the World Cup in Brazil last summer.
He's now got the team playing with much more confidence and free from the shackles that restricted his more creative, attack-minded players before the turn of the year, and the general feeling around the club is that the future is bright heading into this new era.
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However, Pulis has offered the former Netherlands head coach something of a reality check ahead of Saturday's encounter, suggesting that he must take the squad to the next level in 2015/16 as this year's 'achievement' won't be tolerated forever.
"Louis has obviously spent a bit of money and brought quite a few players in, I think he has had a year to look at it," explained the West Brom boss in an interview with BT Sport.
"The difference from himself and [Jose] Mourinho was that Jose knew the league. This is Van Gaal's first season in the league. Next year he has to come close to winning the league, he'll know that.
"It's been great experience for him this year. I'm sure he'll add a few players to the squad next year. They'll want to win it, I see them getting stronger, I can't see them getting weaker.
"David [Moyes] didn't get it [time], but Louis has, most probably on the basis he has been successful at bigger clubs. He's won major titles at bigger clubs. He's earned it by what he's done elsewhere, that's a fact of life."
Manchester United's drop in form has not been exploited by fifth placed Liverpool, who remain seven points behind Van Gaal's side with four games to play after losing three of their past five games - including Monday's 1-0 defeat against Hull City at the KC Stadium.
But, Van Gaal will still be expecting his players to bounce back against the Baggies tomorrow, and move another step closer to securing that top four finish with three more points.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Louis van Gaal can deliver the Premier League title next season? Where do you think the squad needs most urgent improvement? Have your say below...
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