Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that his side want to finish above reigning Premier League champions and cross-town rivals Manchester City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have suffered from inconsistent form of late, while the Old Trafford side have finally found their groove under the former Netherlands coach.
With United two points behind City and able to leapfrog their rivals temporarily with victory against Aston Villa today, it looks set to be a tight race between the pair.
The Old Trafford side also host City next weekend, in a fixture that is sure to play a considerable part in deciding which team finishes higher come the end of the season.
Van Gaal has stated that City are firmly in his sights and that he hopes to usurp the champions by the end of the campaign.
“Of course. I cannot deny that, because we have Manchester City at home,” The Guardian quote the Dutch maestro as saying.
“We have the strongest record at home so it’s possible. But Manchester City is a top team so it shall not be easy.
“First I think we have to concentrate on playing Aston Villa. In the away match we played 11 against 10 a lot of time and we couldn’t score [in December’s 1-1 draw]. They can organise and play on the counterattack, and that’s always difficult.”
United’s chances of Champions League football next season have been boosted in recent weeks by excellent wins over top-four rivals Tottenham and Liverpool.