Louis van Gaal has suggested Manchester United must get real and stop living in the past, ahead of their Europa League clash with old rivals Liverpool on Thursday.
Manchester United face Liverpool in the Europa League round of 16 tomorrow, a significant fall from grace for English most decorated clubs.
Both clubs have eight Champions League and 38 league titles between them but recent struggles mean they have either failed to make Europe’s elite club competition, or have failed to make significant impact whenever they make it there.
But speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of the game, Van Gaal said people ‘live in the past’ if they think both clubs have a divine right to play in the Champions League, admitting that the Europa League is where United and Liverpool belong at the moment.
“Other teams are playing in the Champions League. You are talking about Manchester United and Liverpool, we are happy to play in the Europa League.
“But Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are still playing in the Champions League. So six clubs are in Europe (also including Tottenham in the Europa League) and you have to be proud of that.
“But in football it is normal. It is not normal that one team dominates for 20 years in a row as the champion.”
When it was pointed out to him that United were the dominant force in english football for about two decades under Sir Alex Ferguson, Van Gaal said: “It was another time. You live in the past. You have to live in the present.”