Louis van Gaal says winning the FA Cup with Manchester United would achieve the aim he set himself when he joined the club – but he accepts winning the Europa League is more important to the club.
United have not won any silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but Van Gaal has two remaining opportunities to end the drought this season with the club still in both the Europa League and FA Cup.
Van Gaal set himself the target of adding an English trophy to his personal haul when he took over at Old Trafford in 2014, making the FA Cup his priority, but the Dutchman acknowledges a Europa League win would be more beneficial to the club.
“My personal wish is to win the FA Cup,” said Van Gaal. “I have already won the UEFA Cup and I want to win a title in England. That is why I have come to this country, to make Manchester United champions or give them a title [in England].
“But I understand, for Manchester United it is much more important to win the Europa League because it will give us the Champions League.”
Van Gaal has admitted that winning the Europa League is United’s best hope of qualifying for the Champions League, but the 64-year-old has warned it will not be easy.
“It is not only my best route, but ours I think,” Van Gaal said.
“However, I think it is also difficult to win [the Europa League] because there are also very good European teams in the league. We are with the last 32 teams, so we still need to win a lot of rounds.
“It’s a way to get into the Champions League. It’s a fantastic aim for us to win this cup because Manchester United have never won it.”
Van Gaal expects tough Midtjylland challenge
First up for United are Danish champions Midtjylland, who beat Southampton in the Europa League play-offs in August.
“We must not forget we have to beat Midtjylland and they are also a very good team, who play in a very difficult shape for us, 4-1-4-1,” Van Gaal said.
“It is not so easy, and the circumstances are also not so easy – I have seen the pitch and it is smaller than usual. So it will not be so easy to beat Midtjylland here.”
Meanwhile, Van Gaal has expressed his sympathy for United fans with regard to the price of tickets for Thursday’s contest.
Fans are being charged £71 each to watch the match at the 11,800-capacity MCH Arena in Herning and United supporters are planning a protest against the cost during the game.
Southampton fans were charged just £22 when their team played at the same venue.
Van Gaal said: ”It is a big difference, from what I have heard, between the price of the game against Southampton and this one.
”It shows you that Manchester United is a big team in this world, but this is a lot.
”So I have very much sympathy with the United fans.”