Louis van Gaal has described Tuesday’s make-or-break UEFA Champions League match in Wolfsburg as the biggest of his reign as Manchester
United manager, with the Reds needing a positive result to progress from Group B.
United are currently second in the pool after five matches played and know that victory against the Germans would secure qualification to the last-16. A draw may also be good enough, although that would require third-placed PSV Eindhoven to draw or lose at home to CSKA Moscow.
Speaking during the pre-match press conference at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg on Monday evening, van Gaal was asked if this is the biggest match of his short reign so far as United manager. “The moment is always the most important thing in this question as we have to fight against Manchester City in the league, or against Liverpool, and for the fans they are very important,” he told reporters.
“But in this moment, I believe this is the most important match but only at this moment. It’s also very important for the club to continue in the Champions League and also for the players because they want to show their qualities at the highest podium. That’s also why it is very important.”
Van Gaal won the Champions League with a youthful Ajax team in 1995 and has since lost in two more finals, firstly with the Dutch giants in 1996 and again with Bayern Munich in 2010. As he only has 18 months left on his United contract, which he has often described as his last job in football before retiring, the boss told reporters there is an urgency in him to win the competition again.
“Yes of course,” he said. “As a manager I have played three finals so that’s a lot I think. I have won one and lost two. Always when you lose you are so close and it’s so disappointing, but now we are in the qualification group. That is, in my opinion, different as you have to prove as a club, as a team and as player that you can continue and that’s why it is very important to beat the opponent tomorrow.”