Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal gave an honest assessment of where his club and fierce rivals Liverpool stand ahead of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday.
When asked about the state of English football, given United and Liverpool – historically two of Europe’s most significant clubs with eight European crowns between them – are playing in the Europa League, Van Gaal was frank in his thoughts but said the Premier League remained in a good place.
“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,” he said.
“But Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea [since knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain] 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.
“[Alex Ferguson’s two decades of dominance at United] was another time, you live in the past. You have to live in the present I think.”