Returning to the top four was undoubtedly the main objective for Louis Van Gaal upon his arrival, and, barring a miraculous fourteen goal swing, it appears that the Dutchman will achieve just that.
It may have been a rocky start for Van Gaal who arrived late into pre-season preparations after the World Cup, but the team has finally adapted to his philosophy and tactics to produce the results and performances when it mattered most.
Six consecutive victories from late February until mid-April may prove to be the run of form that secured Champions League football for Manchester United next season, and although Van Gaal already has one eye on improving the squad in the summer to add to Memphis Depay’s impending arrival, there is still a trip to relegation-threatened Hull to consider. Coral will undoubtedly consider the Red Devils as considerable favourites to come away from the KC Stadium with all three points, with victory being a good way to end the 2014/2015 campaign and take confidence into a summer where big changes could be made.
Van Gaal may have had his doubters when the going was tough during the first couple of months of the season, but Manchester United fans have seen the team grow and prosper under his management ever since. Injuries have undoubtedly affected any outside chance of competing for the Premier League title, but returning to the top four was always imperative for a team recovering from the huge disappointment of 2013/2014.
The manner in which Manchester United bounced back from three straight defeats to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace typifies the fight and belief that Van Gaal has reinstalled throughout the team, with Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini coming to the fore once again. It was a performance which illustrated that the players will continue fighting until the very end in an attempt to finish higher than fourth and avoid a potentially tricky Champions League play-off match.
More importantly, victory at Hull would be a positive way to end what has been a successful season and build belief that Manchester United can go on to bigger and better things next season, with foundations in place to mount a serious title challenge.
Fighting for their lives
Tigers are known for their predatory and fighting instincts, but Hull are going to have to show the same qualities to get themselves out of their current predicament. A quite dramatic end to the season has seen a number of teams, who were once considered doomed and heading to the Championship, pull themselves out of danger through crucial victories that have left others that cannot buy a win in peril.
Hull have slipped into the relegation zone at the wrong time of the season, with just two wins in their last ten league fixtures leaving Steve Bruce’s side fighting for their lives. Facing Manchester United is arguably the last thing they need at this stage of the season, but their only hope is to put in one big effort in front of their own fans in an effort to preserve their Premier League status. Their hopes could be dashed by the absence of Gaston Ramirez, Mohamed Diame, Curtis Davies and Robert Snodgrass – four key players who may have been able to save Hull from the drop.