Louis van Gaal has likened Sunday’s game against Liverpool to El Clasico in Spain, between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“It is like that, of course,” he said. “Barcelona versus Real Madrid was [in front of] 102,000 in the first time I was working there. The stadium adapted to 102,000 and they were all sitting there. I won my first derby with Barcelona 3-0, so I was very pleased. I hope that I shall win this first derby also.”

Van Gaal actually won his first game against Real Madrid 3-2 at the Bernabeu, before beating them 3-0 at the Nou Camp later that season. But being a big game manager at previous clubs should help lift the confidence for Sunday’s match.

Now third and eight points behind Chelsea, Van Gaal has refused to rule United out of winning the title, but concedes that the west London clubs are still favourites to do it.

“Mathematically, we can do it,” he explained. “We now have a better possibility but it is not so easy because I think Chelsea won’t lose so much.”