Phelan: Van Gaal has instilled belief and they can win the title

Louis Van Gaal

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan says he doesn't see why the club can't win the title in Louis van Gaal's first season in charge.

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has said that Louis van Gaal has instilled belief back into the side during the pre-season, and there is no reason why he can't lead United to the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Old Trafford.

United's pre-season tour of the United States has been a successful one as they have enjoyed wins over LA Galaxy, Roma, a penalty shoot-out victory over Inter Milan, and 3-1 wins over Real Madrid and Liverpool resulting in his side lifting the Champions Cup.

Phelan told TalkSport: "United did take a backward step a little bit, but it is well within their capabilities to surprise a lot of people and rise to the occasion. They look now as though they have got belief in themselves.

"Obviously pre-season is pre-season. They have got to come back now and get some consistency in the league but there will be excitement there.

"They have got, in Van Gaal, somebody with terrific experience and great motivation. Add that to the ingredients already at Old Trafford, in the supporters and the expectation. I'm sure they could be right up there."

The bookies place Chelsea and Manchester City as stronger candidates for the league title than United, but given that they're priced as third favourites following on from a season where they finished seventh and 22 points behind champions Manchester City last term, they are well fancied to do well in van Gaal's first season at the helm.

Juan Mata also seemed to indicate that United's squad believe in themselves following a successful pre-season tour, telling the club's website: “It was a good tour for us, a good two or three weeks trying to get ready physically and mentally while trying to adapt to the new system. Obviously, we didn’t lose a game which is good for the confidence but the most important thing is that we believe in what we are doing."

Despite some suggesting that experienced players departing like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra could work against the team, there are still plenty of players amongst the squad who have the experience of winning Premier League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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