With his team on a five-game winning run, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was beaming with confidence ahead of his sidea s clash with cross town rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
In his weekly press conference, the Dutchman said that he was looking forward to the game on Sunday and was a dreaminga of beating Champions City.
“Of course I dream of it, that is not the problem,” said Van Gaal.
“Every player dreams of victory. I have to think with my staff and my players, already a lot of days, how we have to beat City.
“You are sitting in that process to win your next opponent. Of course, you want to win. It is a big step in the table also.
“When you win, the third place is reachable, and a month ago nobody thinking about that, besides me, of course.
“That is good, because then you are certainly in the Champions League and then we do it better than the goal was in the pre-season.”
Van Gaala s side have now lost only one out of the last ten games in the Premier League and have climbed above City on the table. United, who have lost the last four derbies to City, trailed their a noisy neighboursa by ten points on January 10th and have not got a point more after winning 25 points out of the last 30.
“I am always confident, because I always believe in my team. In our gameplan. There are not so many differences in that, because I know that also a match between teams of the same city is always very special, and in spite of that City lost several games in the last few, I dona t think that shall have a big influence.
“It is a special game and we have to show it – but they do also. We have lost against Arsenal in the FA Cup, it was also very disappointing for us, but nevertheless we continued our form in the Premier League.”
When asked how he prepares for a game as big as it, the 63-year-old nonchalantly said that all games represent three points to him and this one was no different.
“I dona t think that is any different for me. I dona t think there is much difference for the players. Of course, we are maybe more confident in our own playing style, but you have to play against City and they play in another way to Villa or Spurs. Always another game.”
Talking about his team on Sunday, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach cited a famous saying in English football while adding his usual seal of caution.
“‘Never change a winning teama is an English expression but I always have my eyes open,” he said.
“Ita s also an obligation to the substitutes that you have to compare players. You have to see also the quality of your opponent and you make a decision with the staff I have.”
Over and above that, the Dutchman also talked about the options that he will have when he picks to side for the derby.
“Most of the players are fit. Fit for me is a different situation. So I dona t think every player is fit. Pereira has been invited by Brazil and I have given him permission to go, so he is not available.
“Van Persie is not fit enough to play. I dona t think Shaw is fit enough to play. I cannot say they are not fit, but in my opinion they are not fit to play.”
Record signing Angel Di Maria came on as a substitute for Ashley Young in the cluba s game against Aston Villa last time out, turning provider for an assist to captain Wayne Rooney. When Van Gaal was asked whether the Argentine would be rewarded for his role as a sub in the game against Villa, he said that Di Maria wasna t the only one fighting for a place in the starting 11.
“Not only Angel [is pushing for a place], but every player who is training in the first squad are pushing because they want to do their utmost.
“I played 11 vs 11 today and the team in white was very good – the white team was not the basic line-up, so they are pushing always and I like that. I said that to all of them, that I like the fighting spirit of every one of them.”
“I’m always confident because I believe in my team,” says the Dutchman, before adding that a match of this calibre “is always very special.”