Manchester United News: Louis Van Gaal Calls for Perfection Until Premier League Conclusion

Louis Van Gaal believes Manchester United needs nine wins out of nine until the end of the season.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, England, on March 6, 2016. Van Gaal has called for perfection from Manchester United until the end of the season. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal says his team must be perfect until the end of the season to stand a chance of making the English Premier League top three.

Those positions guarantee automatic entry into the group stages of next season's UEFA Champions League, and an accompanying financial windfall.

But having shown improved form and results over the past three weeks, United stumbled on Sunday, losing 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion and having Juan Mata sent off for two bookings within 158 seconds of each other.

United has nine league games remaining as it attempts to overhaul bitter rival Manchester City, and Van Gaal believes it must take maximum points from those games.

"We need 27 points. It is a lot but it is always possible," Van Gaal said.

"You have always chances but I have said in advance—these kind of matches you have to win, especially when you need to close the gap because you have lost too many games before."

United is three points behind City, which occupies fourth position in the Premier League and has a game in hand on Van Gaal's team. United also trails one of the surprise packages of the season, West Ham United, by two points, making a late charge into the upper reaches of the league even trickier as it will have to leapfrog the London side.

The club does not play another league game until March 20, with its next fixture the UEFA Europa League game against Liverpool on Thursday at Anfield.