Louis van Gaal believes the outcome of Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal can have a significant bearing on the race for Champions League qualification.
Arsenal, who are one point and one place ahead of United in third spot in the Premier League, travel to Old Trafford on Monday as they try and retain the trophy they won last season.
With five points separating Arsenal in third and Southampton in seventh, Van Gaal believes Monday’s victors will have a psychological edge in the race for a top four place.
“Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams,” the 63-year-old Dutchman said.
“I hope we can give a fantastic match for the fans. I think if we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us.
“It is very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the [Premier League] rat race."
Van Gaal also paid tribute to his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger, who has been in charge of the north London side since 1996.
"In my opinion what he has done is amazing,” van Gaal said.
“It can only be in England, I believe, where managers are so long committed with one club.
"It shows how much he can mean for a club as a manager. I like that - like Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger - I think it's fantastic that you can do that."