Louis van Gaal calls it a “rat race” for second place

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Could Manchester United really pull out a second place finish in the league?

Amazingly, it’s not far out of their reach.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

With Manchester City’s recent dip in form, United has climbed to within two points of their crosstown rivals for second place in the Premier League.

City sit on 58 points, Arsenal on 57, and United on 56. With nine matches to play, Louis van Gaal is calling it a “rat race” towards the top of the table.

[ WATCH: Rooney’s goal KO’s Tottenham ]

It is a rat race and we are now two points from second position.

So whether they (Manchester City) want that or don’t want that, that is the position. They are in it.

It is good for us, good for the fans and good for the media because there will be lots of things to write about.”

Van Gaal’s side is coming off of a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham, with Manchester United scoring all three goals in the first half in one of their most impressive 45 minutes of the season. Despite all the controversy around Van Gaal’s tactics, formations and player selection, he has his team primed for a second place battle.

[ RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS: Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur ]

In order for United to survive this rat race, they are going to need some big performances down the stretch as the club faces a daunting schedule. Out of nine remaining matches, United faces Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

If United could somehow finish second in the league, Van Gaal would become an instant legend and Manuel Pellegrini would almost certainly be sacked should City finish behind their Red rivals.

Buckle up because the final stretch of the Premier League season is underway.