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The Dutchman feels the gap to Manchester City is now too great for the Red Devils to bridge and is instead hoping to reach the Champions League by another route

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted winning the Europa League is now the priority for his side following their 2-1 defeat to Sunderland on Saturday.

The Red Devils are six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City having played a game more and the former Barcelona boss feels it will now be too difficult to bridge the gap.

Next up for United is a trip to face FC Midtjylland on Thursday and Van Gaal feels winning the Europa League is their best way of securing Champions League football for next season.

"It will be very difficult now, we have given five points away with the Chelsea result so it’s too much at this time," he told BT Sport.

"We had to win this kind of game and we didn’t, so we can only blame ourselves. Sunderland had more aggression than us and we could not cope with that aggression as we couldn’t keep the ball.

"I think after today the Europa League’s the best route but it will not be so easy because there are a lot of very good teams in it."

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Meanwhile, the Dutchman does not feel that the 2-1 reverse, which came about due to a David de Gea own goal in the closing stages, puts him any closer to losing his job at Old Trafford.

"I’m under no more pressure," he said. "I have to do my work and to do my utmost I cannot do more and I will prepare my players on Thursday to be 100 per cent as always."