Van Gaal praises 'beautiful' Leicester

Leicester City are eight points clear at the summit following Saturday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Louis van Gaal said Leicester City's remarkable title run reflects the strength of the Premier League, denying their success was embarrassing for Manchester United and Co.

Despite operating on a modest budget, Leicester top the Premier League by eight points as they continue to upstage the richer English clubs.

Leicester are within touching distance of the title following Saturday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, with Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and United inferior to Claudio Ranieri's high-flyers.

And Van Gaal said there should be nothing but praise for the club's achievement so far.

"[Leicester's run] makes sport beautiful," Van Gaal said ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby. "The money is not always dominating.

"It's the quality of a team and Leicester is an example of a team that plays like a team. So you have to give a big compliment to the manager and his staff.

"The Premier League is a very strong league and the difference in levels is not so big any more. Anyone can win or lose against each other.

"That is the difference to the French league or the Dutch league. In the Spanish league you can lose to everybody, but maybe Barcelona is the exception."