Van Gaal: Man Utd's problems are not all down to me
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has insisted he should not take sole responsibility for the club's woes this season, as he insists progress has been made during his time in charge.
After admitting that defeat in Sunday's Manchester derby could end United's hopes of a top four finish, Van Gaal appears to have got his excuses in before his side's trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Defeat in the Europa League against Liverpool added to a miserable season for United and Van Gaal, but he claims the criticism that has flowed in his direction is not justified.
“I keep pointing out the problems we have had this season, but all that ever happens is that I am accused of trying to find excuses," he told Sunday newspaper reporters.
“So I will not repeat about the number of injuries we’ve had, and still have, such as to my captain and main striker Wayne Rooney.
“There is also the schedule of us. We played in the Euro League, so we play Thursday, then Sunday, but we played against Arsenal and we had two days recovery and they had four or five.
“Now, City have played Tuesday like Arsenal, but we beat them. We can also beat City and I think we have to do that.”
Van Gaal went on to claim his side's crowded fixture list this season is evidence of progress, in comments that may not be welcomed by too many increasingly irate United fans.
“When I started we were out of everything. We have played much more matches than last year and we have coped with that despite a lot of injuries," he said.
“And we are still capable of finishing in the first four. “Now Sunday is a very important game for us because we are four points behind City but this is a job that can still be done.”
Van Gaal was then asked whether he was embarrassed to be trailing Premier League leaders Leicester by such a wide margin and he was quick to dismiss such an accusation.
“I don’t think it is embarrassing to be so far behind Leicester," he added.
“Football is a sport and what Leicester are doing makes sport beautiful. It means the money is not always dominating.
“It is about the quality of a team and Leicester is an example of a how to play like a team. I can only give a big compliment to the manager and his staff.”
Many United fans are unlikely to be impressed by Van Gaal's latest comments, with Sunday's game against City their final chance to revive a flagging Premier League campaign.