Louis van Gaal states that United will compete for the title

Louis van Gaal has declared for the first time that his Manchester United side is capable of challenging for the title this season, after a vital 3-2 victory over Southampton moved them to second place behind Manchester City.

Two goals from Anthony Martial and a host of jaw-dropping saves by David De Gea secured United’s second away win in the Premier League. A 45-pass goal from Mata has meanwhile indicated that the Dutchman’s philosophy is beginning to materialise.

‘It’s a fantastic result away at Southampton and I think we have made a statement that we shall compete for the title,’’ van Gaal told ManUtd.com.

“You cannot expect a title from a team in transition. But when we are close we shall grab it.”

The Dutchman was full of praise for the French wonderkid, but returned to warn that his age means consistency can’t be taken for granted.

“I have to say he is doing great. Three matches in a row and three goals. It is not bad

“He has the talent for it. But I have also said when you are 19 years old you cannot expect consistency of a player that age. Mostly they shall have a lot of dips. I expect that from him. But it is not a big problem for me.’’