Louis van Gaal: Man United under lot of pressure to reach group stage

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits Club Brugge will provide the Red Devils with a stern test

Louis van Gaal says Manchester United are under a lot of pressure to qualify for the Champions League group stage.

The Red Devils face Club Brugge in the first leg of their Champions League play-off at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

It is much more difficult because we have drawn Bruges and they can defend very good and they can attack also

Louis van Gaal

United sealed a return to Europe’s top table after last season’s absence courtesy of a fourth-place finish in their first campaign under Van Gaal.

And the 63-year-old, who was appointed as United manager in May 2014, admitted he is expects Brugge to provide United with a stern examination.

“There is a lot of pressure because our aim and goal is to reach the Champions League, and that is what Arsene Wenger mentioned last year, that these kind of matches are difficult,” Van Gaal told his pre-match media conference at Old Trafford.

“And because of the draw, I think it is much more difficult because we have drawn Bruges and they can defend very good and they can attack also, so it shall be a difficult match and that is why the pressure is high.

“All the players and the fans and the board of the club wants to participate in the Champions League, but first you have to beat Bruges.”

United have won the Champions League twice but have failed to reach the last-four of the competition since 2011.

The Red Devils have made a good start to the Premier League season after back-to-back wins against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.

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The 20-time English champions face Newcastle United in their next Premier League outing at Old Trafford next Saturday.

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