Van Gaal backs United to finish above their noisy neighbours

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal believes his side can achieve a Premier League runners up position this season, and finish above local rivals Manchester City in the process, reports Sky Sports.

United crashed out of the FA Cup to Arsenal on Monday, and sit two points clear of rivals Liverpool in fourth place at present.

Van Gaal and his team have drawn plenty of criticism for recent results, but the Dutchman still believes his side can manage a strong finish to the season.

So much so that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has backed his side to close the current five point gap, and finish above Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

“The coming matches are very decisive,” the Dutchman said.

“We are so close to a lot of clubs. We can be second or third. It is not a big difference, I believe.

“Manchester United have to be one of the teams who have to play in the Champions League.”

Despite sitting fourth in the Premier League and having lost just three of his last 23 games, van Gaal and his side have been criticised by the likes of Manchester United legend Paul Scholes for their style of play.

However, van Gaal insists he remains confident in his side, who he believes are improving all the time.

“We have the confidence to reach the goal we set at the beginning of the season,” he added.

“I have a lot of confidence in my players. From what I see in training sessions, we have progressed. But there is a big difference between training sessions and matches.

“We have to wait for the big victory. Then, maybe, we shall have more spirit and also more confidence to win our games.”