Top-four would be a title for Manchester United, says Van Gaal

After being eliminated from the FA Cup by Arsenal, the 20-time champions will be trophyless for the second season running with Champions League qualification now their only aim

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has admitted that a top-four finish this season would be like winning a title.

United have been criticised for a string of unconvincing displays this season but have occupied the Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League since November.

Former player Danny Welbeck scored the winner for Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final on Monday and, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Tottenham, Van Gaal underlined the importance of beating positional rivals.

He told Sky Sports: “I would have loved to play for the semi-final of the FA Cup. I think we could’ve played for two titles. Nevertheless a Champions League [spot] for us is a title.

“When you lose you have to react. You have to react in a match but on the training ground they have already reacted very well.

“It’s the first match of our rat race with the other teams. It’s your competitors so it’s very important to win.”