Louis van Gaal said it is harder for him to buy quality players for Manchester United than it is for Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City, ahead of their clash on Sunday.
Van Gaal, who has overseen a mixed campaign for United, said the expectations of selling clubs when United are interested in a player is a lot different to when a club of Leicester’s relative stature come knocking.
The Dutchman has experience himself of winning league titles with lesser teams, as he did in Holland with AZ Alkmaar in 2009 and he said he found it easier to sign quality players for his side then than he does at United, where he has spent well over £100million in his two seasons at the club.
“As a club of AZ or a smaller club like Leicester, it is more easy to buy players. It’s not so easy to buy players for a club like Manchester United,” Van Gaal said.
“You have to pay much more, you have to pay also the agents, and then you have the player himself.
“Also the pressure of the transfer of players is less big, and also for the players who have to perform it’s less. So it’s a big difference.
“But it’s also a fantastic performance of Leicester City, and at that time AZ, to beat the top clubs.
“The performance of Ranieri and his players is fantastic because they are not used to winning every game and they have to win every game, and they have done it.
“I believe that they shall be at the end the champions.”
Leicester could be champions as soon as Sunday, should they defeat United at Old Trafford, but Van Gaal insisted his side will not be in a hospitable mood for the visit of Ranieri’s men, as they chase an important three points in the race for a top-four finish.
“We are still in the first five, last year we were in the first four, so the difference in points [to Leicester] is not bigger than with Chelsea I believe,” he said.
“The question for us is to qualify [for the Champions League]. Fourth position is okay, third position then we have reached our aim. But we have of course a final to play in the FA Cup, so we have pluses.
“I don’t think you can say that we haven’t played at a certain level. We have played at a certain level and we played fantastic matches, but we have also played lousy matches.
“I think every club has played lousy matches, also Leicester City, but they have won their lousy matches.”