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The manager believes his charges showed great strength in triumphing over City less than 72 hours after falling in Europe, and is happy to stop playing on Thursdays

Manchester United's Louis van Gaal has praised his players for battling to a derby win just three days after taking on Liverpool at Old Trafford. 

Marcus Rashford helped the side bounce back from Europa League disappointment in perfect fashion, as his goal downed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

And Van Gaal highlighted the strength of his team for playing again in such a short time frame.

“We played a very good first half with a goal and also had more chances and we didn’t receive a lot of chances against us,” he told Sky Sports.

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“In the second-half we had to start again, we started well but after that we had to fight till the end because we were tired from playing on Thursday. They played on Tuesday so that is two days more rest which is important.

“I am a very proud manager today. This victory was necessary, the gap was four points and now is one point, plus we are equal with West Ham which is important, what is possible? I cannot say. 

“We do not have Thursday matches now and that is a positive thing.”

With just eight games remaining, the two Manchester sides look set to battle fiercely for the last Champions League place along with West Ham. 

City currently hold the initiative with 51 points, with the Hammers and United following on 50.