Louis van Gaal preparing the champagne for Liverpool defeat as Manchester United edge closer to Champions League spot
- Liverpool need result at Chelsea to deny Manchester United top four spot
- Louis van Gaal hoping the Reds are beaten at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
- United won 2-1 at Crystal Palace to move seven points clear of Liverpool
- Alan Pardew feels Palace were unlucky with refereeing decisions
Louis van Gaal admitted that the champagne was on ice for Manchester United’s Champions League qualification after they delivered a scrappy victory at Selhurst Park, beating Crystal Palace 2-1.
Marouane Fellaini’s 77th minute header earned United a crucial three points – meaning Liverpool have to win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to keep the race alive.
Though a draw would mean Liverpool could still catch United on points, their goal difference is 14 goals worse than United’s – meaning Liverpool need to win.
Louis van Gaal admitted the champagne was on ice for Manchester United’s Champions League qualification
Van Gaal oversaw his side beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday evening
Van Gaal said: ‘It brings us a big step closer to our goal and now we shall sit with a fantastic glass of wine tomorrow to watch the Chelsea v Liverpool match.’
Asked if he might move on to the champagne if Liverpool lose, the Dutchman said: ‘When I don’t drink too much red wine, then maybe.’
Van Gaal conceded that his side didn’t play well and their problems were compounded by Luke Shaw going off with concussion in the first half and Wayne Rooney at half time with a dead leg.
‘Football is crazy,’ said van Gaal. ‘When you see how we have played against Chelsea, Everton and WBA and compare it today, in that row of matches it was not our best match – but we won.
‘That’s also the beauty of football. What I saw today is the fighting spirit of my team and that’s what I told my player: when you fight like today we are difficult to beat.’
Juan Mata opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Scott Dann was penalised for handball
Marouane Fellaini then scored the winner for Manchester United after Crystal Palace had equalised
He also paid tribute to David de Gea, who pulled of a point blank save from Glenn Murray at 1-1 to keep United level.
‘He made a great save at the most important moment because at that time Crystal Palace could have scored the second and then it would have been very difficult for us to get back in the match.’
Van Gaal’s opposite number Alan Pardew did not want to come across as a ‘moaning minnie’, but thought the handball was harsh on Scott Dann for the penalty from which Juan Mata opened the scoring, while he felt Radamel Falcao pushed Delaney in the build-up to Fellaini’s winner.
Luke Shaw, with a suspected concussion, was forced off the pitch in the first half
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew felt aggrieved after his side were beaten by Manchester United
‘Well, I am a bit aggrieved about the penalty, obviously,’ Pardew said. ‘I think from the referee’s angle that’s a real tough call on us.
‘Scotty Dann does gesture with his body, but he is away from the referee and the referee’s angle can’t be sure that’s hit his arm.
‘I asked him that after and he said he just went with his gut feeling that it was a penalty, but after the players’ reaction and seeing it on VT I think that was a really tough call.’