Updated: Saturday, 18th January 2020 @ 5:44pm

Van Gaal's Man Utd expected to challenge for Premier League title next season

Van Gaal's Man Utd expected to challenge for Premier League title next season

| By Ben Southworth

Louis van Gaal admits he is expected to challenge for the Premier League title next year before Manchester United’s game with West Brom, which marks Darren Fletcher’s Old Trafford return.

Despite losing their past two matches a six-game winning streak has put United in the driving seat to secure Champions League qualification ahead of Liverpool.

However, their manager is aware of the pressures at a club of United’s stature and agreed with West Brom boss Tony Pulis that more will be expected next season.

“The board has given me three years to win the league, so I will be expected to challenge for the title next season,” said the former Barcelona boss.

“This year we have not challenged Chelsea but we are very close to second position.

“Chelsea are far above the other clubs but next year it can be different. Next year we shall be better prepared.”

Wayne Rooney will be fit for the game after overcoming the knee injury he picked up against Everton last weekend.

United’s captain has scored 15 in his last 16 home league games but just one in 17 away fixtures.

Phil Jones and Robin van Persie, who scored twice for the reserves this week, are also fit to start for Van Gaal’s side who welcome former captain Darren Fletcher back to Old Trafford.

Asked about Fletcher’s return the Dutchman said: “I like that very much. I think the fans shall give him a lot of applause.”

The Scot will captain Tony Pulis’ side at Old Trafford as they look to repeat their 2-1 victory from last season.

However, history is against the Baggies whose victory last season was their first in 21 meetings against the 13-time Premier League champions.

In fact, West Brom last won successive league games at Old Trafford when they won three in a row between 1958 and 1959.

Meanwhile, United have scored more home league goals (40) than any other side this season, and have won their previous six home games.

Main image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.