Manchester United can still catch Chelsea and Manchester City and win the Premier League title, says Louis van Gaal

United were unable to find a way past Tottenham yesterday

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The Independent Online

Louis van Gaal has told his Manchester United side they must be more ruthless if they are to win the Barclays Premier League title in 2015.

United failed to finish a trying 2014 with a flourish, drawing 0-0 at Tottenham, and require a memorable end-of-season run to wipe out a huge deficit and overhaul Chelsea and Manchester City to claim a title which Van Gaal insists is still not beyond them.

"When you play your best first half of the season as Manchester United, at White Hart Lane, a top-six club of the Premier League and you play like that, create six to eight chances, open chances, you have to finish that," said Van Gaal, whose side drew a second straight away game.

"I said this also in the dressing room: when you cannot win such a type of match when you are the better team against Aston Villa and also now, it's very difficult to be the champion at the end of the season.

"Still (I think we can win). We are improving every week. I was very happy with the first half."

Asked if United will be improved in 2015 after a fraught last 12 months, Van Gaal, who last summer succeeded the sacked David Moyes, added: "Of course. Of course. Of course, we shall be better. So, watch."

 

United named an unchanged starting XI for the first time since November 2012, in 85 Premier League games, but it was out of necessity, according to Van Gaal.

The Dutchman described the second half of the goalless draw at Tottenham as "a struggle for life" after outlining his frustrations with a fixture schedule which demanded two Premier League matches in fewer than 48 hours.

The visitors, who had not lost at White Hart Lane since May 2001, swept Newcastle aside in 53 minutes in the 3-1 win on Boxing Day.

Had it not been for Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the visitors would have been out of sight at the interval.

The France international saved twice from Radamel Falcao and denied Robin van Persie and Ashley Young and was complimented by opposite number David de Gea as the teams left the field at half-time.

The one time Lloris was beaten, Juan Mata's deflected free-kick hit the post and Vlad Chiriches cleared the rebound off the line ahead of Van Persie.

Van Gaal said: "You could see also the difference in the second half - it was not football any more, it was a struggle for life."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino felt his side were worthy of a draw after Lloris' heroics.

Pochettino said: "I think it's a fair result. Lloris is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. It's not new for me. We know the quality from Hugo."

Pochettino felt Spurs might have had a penalty in the second half following Wayne Rooney's grappling on Harry Kane at a corner.

"Maybe it was a penalty, from seeing the TV now," Pochettino said.

"But from my vision during the game it was difficult to identify if it was a penalty or not."

PA

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