Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes his team can still win the Premier League title following their 1-0 win over rivals Liverpool at Anfield. Meanwhile, colleague Jurgen Klopp couldn't hide his frustrations after his team once again lost due to poor set-piece defending.
As the Times' Oliver Kay shared, Van Gaal told reporters his team is still in the title race when he saw Arsenal had yet to score in their match against Stoke City:
Oliver Kay @OliverKayTimes
Van Gaal looks at TV in press room, notes that Arsenal are drawing, and suggests #MUFC are still in the title race. "We can do it," he says2016-1-17 16:40:14
Per Henry Winter of the Times, he elaborated by saying a big derby win can provide a major boost for everyone involved.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the match 12 minutes before the final whistle, blasting a volley over Simon Mignolet after Liverpool failed to deal with a routine ball into the box. Marouane Fellaini directed the cross onto the cross bar, and Rooney was there to guide the rebound into goal.
It was one of few chances for the visitors, who were second-best for much of the match. Klopp couldn't believe his team somehow lost, per World Soccer Talk:
The Reds had their chances to grab the lead before Rooney's goal, but the likes of Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana couldn't convert. Roberto Firmino put in a strong shift as the main forward, but he didn't get a lot of looks on goal.
According to Liverpool's official Twitter account, Klopp praised the Brazilian, but despite his team's solid performance, the German manager was disappointed:
Liverpool FC @LFC
JK: "We played not bad but everyone can see if we want to be satisfied we need the result." #LFC2016-1-17 16:28:38
He made it very clear he understands the importance of this rivalry, and positive results trump how a team plays in such a match:
Liverpool FC @LFC
JK: "It's a derby and in a derby you have one job to do - that's to win." #LFC2016-1-17 16:24:21
Liverpool were the more attacking side, but while they enjoyed the bulk of possession, the Reds didn't threaten goalkeeper David De Gea all that much. Van Gaal thought his shot stopper did what he had to do and little more:
Henry Winter @henrywinter
LVG on De Gea: "He is always reaching a very high level. But I can't say he has done a lot today. He stopped the balls he had to stop"#mufc2016-1-17 16:51:56
He also believed his team grew into the match and did a better job of keeping the ball away from the Reds in the second half, per United's official Twitter account:
Manchester United @ManUtd
Louis van Gaal: "In the second half we kept the ball better - that's why we came into the match, created chances and scored." #mufc2016-1-17 16:44:52
The win leaves United just two points out of fourth place and well within reach of Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester City, the three clubs that are currently battling it out for the top spot in the Premier League standings.
If United can keep winning, they'll join that group before long, even though the team have to start creating more chances. Liverpool have been hit hard by injuries and struggle putting the ball in the net―the likes of City and Arsenal won't be so careless in front of goal.