Louis van Gaal is frustrated that Manchester United do not have their Champions League destiny in their own hands ahead of their final Premier League fixture of the season against AFC Bournemouth.
After failing to hold a 2-1 lead against West Ham and succumbing to a late 3-2 defeat at Upton Park on Tuesday, United missed the chance to head into the last match of the campaign in fourth position.
Van Gaal’s side are now reliant on Swansea City inflicting defeat on arch-rivals Manchester City in order to have a chance to participate in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
It is a situation that rankles with the Dutchman, but he will tell the players to fight while the chance remains.
“We are now dependent on Manchester City and that is the difference,” said Van Gaal.
“That is also frustrating because we had the chance, with two games to go, to keep that advantage.
“We were 2-1 ahead with 15 minutes to play and we gave it away. That is frustrating. It is still possible, so we fight until the end.”
Having successfully steered clear of relegation in their maiden Premier League season, Bournemouth will solely be playing for league position on Sunday.
Manager Eddie Howe does not believe motivation will be an issue for his players, though.
The 38-year-old thinks the chance to follow up the 2-1 win over United in December and complete a double at Old Trafford will galvanise his players.
“We won’t need motivating for this one,” said Howe. “Whenever you play Manchester United it’s a historic occasion, so I am sure the players will be chomping at the bit to get out there.
“It’s nice to be involved in games that mean something. We are a competitive team and relish that side of it, so it’s a game we are all really looking forward to.
“It would mean everything to do the double over them.”
Ashley Young could be in line for a return, but Adnan Januzaj has joined Matteo Darmian (ankle) on the sidelines after picking up a knock during training.
Bastian Schweinsteiger remains unavailable, while Luke Shaw will not make his comeback from a broken leg suffered in September this season and Marouane Fellaini remains suspended.
Bournemouth will be without Sylvain Distin (back) and Adam Smith (hernia).
Key Opta stats:
– There have been just 32 goals in the Premier League at Old Trafford, fewer than on any other ground in the top flight this season.
– Bournemouth have lost just three of their last 12 Premier League away matches (W5 D4 L3).
– United have netted just 46 top-flight goals this season so far; their lowest goal tally in a completed Premier League campaign is 58 in 04-05.
– Bournemouth full-back Charlie Daniels has provided five assists in the Premier League this season, more than any other defender.
– Wayne Rooney has scored just seven Premier League goals this season; he has never before failed to reach double-figures in a top-flight campaign with United.