‘We’re serious contenders,’ claims Man United boss

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal insists his side are serious title contenders, as reported by FourFourTwo.

Man United closed the gap between themselves and league leaders Manchester City to just two points with a 3-2 victory at Southampton on Sunday, following City’s shock 2-1 home defeat to high-flying West Ham.

And the Dutch boss claims United’s win at St. Mary’s sent out a statement that they are ready to begin challenging for the Premier League title once again.

He said: “It is a fantastic result away at Southampton and we have made a statement that we shall compete for the title.

“What I am saying all the time is that we have to improve and we finished fourth last year.

“We shall always strive for it, we did also last year. You cannot expect a title from a team in transition. But when we are close we shall grab it.”

The Red Devils had been written off by many following successive away defeats to Swansea City and PSV in the league and Champions League respectively, despite taking the lead in both games.

But the 64-year-old admits he was impressed with the way his players remained in control at St. Mary’s despite falling behind to an early Graziano Pelle goal.

“For the first time after we were ahead – as we also were against Swansea City and PSV – we controlled the match better and we played more to kill the game,” he added.

“Of course after the Champions League match against PSV our players are more tired and you could see that in the last 15 minutes, which were difficult.

“But I liked the way we did it because we controlled the game for 30 minutes of the second half.”

Big summer signing Anthony Martial was the hero for United on Sunday as he netted a goals either side of half-time to give van Gaal’s side a 2-1 lead before Juan Mata netted a third.

Southampton’s Pelle headed in his second goal of the game late on, but United held on for all three points to take them to within touching distance of arch-rivals City at the top of the table.