Louis van Gaal congratulates Gary Neville after Manchester United win

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Football News

Gary Neville has not always been complimentary about Manchester United's football under Louis van Gaal this season, but the relationship between the two men appears to be perfectly healthy judging by this surprise footage from Sunday.

Neville, the former Manchester United captain and current Sky Sports pundit, was analysing the Red Devils' performance shortly after their impressive 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

But his analysis was interrupted by a smiling Van Gaal, who told Neville: "Congratulations to your club".

Neville a fan of Van Gaal

Neville, who is also a key member of the England national team's coaching staff, got to know Van Gaal over an interview conducted on behalf of the Telegraph back in August.

That interview appeared to convince Neville, a passionate United fan, that the Red Devils had the right man in charge - even during the darkest moments of the season.

Neville defended Van Gaal last month

Last month, when Van Gaal had still failed to convince the majority of Manchester United supporters - and the wider general public - about his philosophy, Neville defended the under-pressure Dutch coach while appearing as a guest host on talkSPORT.

“Louis van Gaal should not be sacked [if Manchester United fail to make the top four],” Neville categorically stated. “It would be a terrible season for Man United and Louis van Gaal. He would probably say it was a big failure because he knows his job this season.

"He has to get in the Champions League but, on the other hand, if he didn’t, no, you can’t just sack a manager one year and then sack another manager the year after. Where do you go from there?

“There has to be a level of continuity. I absolutely believe this time there will be continuity at Man United and they will stand by him even if he doesn’t finish in the top four and that’s the right thing to do.”

United on course to qualify for Champions League

However, after back-to-back Premier League wins over Tottenham and Liverpool, Van Gaal's Manchester United are now firmly on course to qualify for next season's Champions League following a one-season absence.

United now hold a five-point lead over fifth-placed Liverpool with eight matches of the campaign left to play, but can ill-afford to become complacent with several tough fixtures on the horizon.

After the international break, United face Aston Villa at Old Trafford - which should be a home banker - before back-to-back fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of six days.

Changes required this summer

It seems that United are finally beginning to click under Van Gaal, whose side have produced their two best performances of the season in consecutive weeks, and the matches against both City and Chelsea will subsequently appear far less daunting.

But it's clear that United require strengthening in certain areas, particularly upfront, with Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie both struggling for form, confidence and fitness this season.

Van Gaal must also ensure that goalkeeper David de Gea is tied down to a new long-term contract.

Speculation is rife that Real Madrid will submit a formal offer for the Spain international, whose United contract expires in the summer of 2016, and the opportunity to replace Iker Casillas at the Bernabeu might be too tempting to resist.

United's defenders have stepped up their game in recent weeks, so Van Gaal may think twice before investing a huge sum of money on a new centre-back, while the club's midfielders have also impressed in recent weeks.

United fans: which players should Louis van Gaal sign this summer? Have your say in the comments below!

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Premier League
Gary Neville
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal

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