Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal hailed his side for a gritty performance in their 1-0 win over Watford on Wednesday evening.
The game was settled by a late free-kick from Juan Mata, who captained the team for the first time and remarkably was the oldest player on the pitch for the Red Devils at the age of 28.
Van Gaal admitted the result was priceless given the club’s injury troubles and that their nearest rivals all failed to pick up points in their respective fixtures.
The win for United has taken them level on points with cross-town rivals Manchester City, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot on 47-points.
“I am very happy for the players because they have fought until the end, and they knew out on the pitch that our competitors were losing,” the Dutchman said in the post-match press conference.
“We wanted to win, you have to win against Watford at home, I think, but it was a difficult game because of the wind.
“It became a physical game and, when you see the size of our opponents compared to us, it’s very difficult for us. We fought until the end and scored a goal, so I am very happy for them.
“Watford played very well, they pressed very high up and we had difficulty with that. We gave a lot of chances away but, of course, it was because of their pressing, I cannot deny that.
“We still had our chances and I’m very pleased with this victory – it’s come at the right moment.”