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Man Utd boss Van Gaal boosted by win at Anfield

Louis van Gaal celebrates victory at Anfield with assistant Ryan Giggs. Credit: PA

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the 1-0 win at arch-rivals Liverpool can re-ignite their Premier League title challenge.

Wayne Rooney's 78th-minute strike - the visitors' only shot on target at Anfield - settled a game low on quality and chances.

It left United within seven points of leaders Arsenal and Van Gaal has not ruled out a late charge for the summit.

"We have a lot of matches still to go," said the Dutchman.

"We started 2016 very good with a lot of wins and I think this game will give a big boost to the players and the fans, and everyone in the environment of Manchester United.

"We have to continue, which is not so easy. We have seen that today but we can do it because we show every week we can do it."

Asked whether it was his best day of the season, Van Gaal added: "No, I don't think so. You have to see it always in perspective.

"It is a fantastic win for the fans, for me and the players and it will give us a boost, and maybe in that perspective you are right."

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Van Gaal explains Man Utd transfer strategy in January

Louis van Gaal is prepared to dip into the January transfer market if he identifies a player who will improve his Manchester United squad.

Van Gaal is only looking for the top quality players. Credit: PA

The United manager has been linked with a number of players, including Gareth Bale, Sadio Mane and Felipe Anderson of late after he admitted the lack of goals within his team is a concern.

Van Gaal is also understood to be considering recruiting a full-back as he has been left short in that area thanks to injuries to Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo.

Writing in his programme for Saturday's FA Cup third round tie against Sheffield United, Van Gaal explained:

January brings the opening of the transfer window and, as I have already seen, we have been linked to a host of players.

I don't see January as the ideal time to do business as the players cannot then have the pre-season that I feel they need to be integrated into the squad, both on and off the pitch.

However, if I and the coaches feel that something can be done to improve the current squad then that is something we will look at if the opportunity does arise.

– Man United manager Louis van Gaal

Man Utd manager has a new nickname for Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling is now referred to as "Pele" by Louis van Gaal as the Manchester United manager admits he still struggles to remember the defender's first name.

Van Gaal's jokes are back after a narrow victory against Swansea. Credit: PA

Van Gaal famously called Smalling "Mike" at a press conference in San Jose on United's pre-season tour last July and he blundered again by calling the centre-back "Michael" following the 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow four months later.

Van Gaal dropped another clanger on Friday when he twice referred to Will Keane by his twin brother's name Michael.

After being told he had got the striker's name wrong, Van Gaal added with a hearty laugh:

Or Will Keane... Michael is an easy name for me! I said to 'Mike' Smalling that I call him Pele because he had a fantastic move so it is easier to call him Pele now.

– Man United manager Louis van Gaal

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Business as usual for Van Gaal at Man Utd as pressure intensifies

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal will conduct his pre-match press conference as normal on Wednesday afternoon as pressure on his position intensifies.

The Dutchman has overseen a run of six winless games and the scrutiny on his post grew after the home defeat to Norwich on Saturday, which came just two days after Jose Mourinho left Chelsea.

Van Gaal is under pressure at Man Utd. Credit: PA

However, ahead of the trip to Mark Hughes' Stoke on Saturday, Van Gaal will address the media on Wednesday, suggesting the Old Trafford hierarchy are not considering wielding the axe just yet.

United have dropped out of the top four in the Barclays Premier League, have already been eliminated from the Champions League and have not tasted victory since the win at Watford on November 21.

Mourinho's departure from Chelsea last week has led to speculation the Portuguese could come in and succeed Van Gaal if there is not a swift upturn in results.

Mourinho's name was chanted by United fans at Old Trafford during the loss to Norwich and he has already confirmed that he has no desire to take a break after leaving Stamford Bridge last Thursday.

It is business as usual for the time being for Van Gaal, though, who takes his side to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday before closing out the year with a home fixture against Mourinho's old club Chelsea on Monday.

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