Louis van Gaal: Man Utd title contenders if they beat City

Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney
Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney all scored for Manchester United

Manchester United can be classed as Premier League title contenders if they beat Manchester City next Sunday, says manager Louis van Gaal.

United returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Everton on Saturday, while leaders City thrashed Bournemouth 5-1 at the Etihad.

"We are always having the target of champions. That is of course important in our ambition," said Van Gaal.

Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney scored at Goodison Park.

Derby day looming

Wayne Rooney and Louis van Gaal
Wayne Rooney scored just his second league goal of the season at Everton

Van Gaal wanted his side to bounce back after losing 3-0 against Arsenal before the international break and two early goals against Everton set the platform for an easy victory.

It leaves United trailing City by two points heading into the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford next Sunday (kick-off 14:05 GMT).

"I am very happy with the response of my players and I am very proud of the performance," added the Dutchman. "I think it was an excellent performance and maybe it is the start of many, many victories.

"We have to be more consistent so next week when we win against Manchester City then we can say 'OK, now we think maybe about title aspirations'."

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Van Gaal praises returning players

Defenders Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo returned to the starting line-up, as did midfielder Herrera who headed in the second goal.

Van Gaal was pleased at how the three players performed before Wednesday's Champions League match with CSKA Moscow.

"They played very well," he said. "Rojo had not played 90 minutes for me this season, it was his first 90 minutes, and also for Jones.

"These changes were also question marks before the game, I didn't know if they could play for 90 minutes.

"That is also why I changed Herrera. It was a fantastic performance and I was very happy with him, but I maybe need him on Wednesday."

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