Van Gaal: 'We are champions based on 2016 form'
Published 12/02/2016 | 14:41
Louis van Gaal does not know whether he will be at Manchester United next season if he fails to qualify for the Champions League.
United are six points shy of fourth-placed Manchester City with 13 matches of the season remaining.
When asked whether failure to make the top four or qualify for the Champions League via the Europa League would cost him his job, the United manager said: "It's not a question for me, it's a question for the board of Manchester United, you have to put it to them.
"I have a contract for three years and you know that."
Van Gaal insists he has no problem with United's failure to back him publicly.
Speculation has been swirling around Van Gaal ever since United slipped out of the top four and exited the Champions League.
Unlike when David Moyes was under pressure, United have failed to intimate that Van Gaal has their backing.
Some have taken that as a sign that Van Gaal has lost the faith of the board and that they are considering replacing him with Jose Mourinho.
But Van Gaal says he does not mind that the club have not made a statement backing him.
"I am not agreeing with that," the Dutchman said when asked if he was disappointed about any lack of public backing from the club.
"Because I have said many times that not all the media, but a lot of media, is inventing stories and you don't have to answer on invented stories.
"I agree with this policy of the club."
Read more here:
- 'I turned down offer from Manchester United' - Inter Milan defender admits Old Trafford snub
- Neymar, Bale and Ronaldo back on agenda as United plot summer spending spree
A winless run of eight matches towards the end of the year left Van Gaal's position under scrutiny.
United's form has improved since the start of the year, however. The Red Devils have lost just once in 2016 and sit fourth in the form table.
Van Gaal has challenged his team to put together a series of wins to break into the top four and ease the considerable pressure on his shoulders.
"I have to say that we are doing great in that perspective," Van Gaal said when asked about the mood in he camp.
"We have lost in December four matches in a row and when you see us playing now you can only say that we care, we are mentally very strong and we can cope with the pressure.
"But that is not enough - we have to improve our results in consistency and win a lot of matches in a row now. We have to reduce the gap with our competitors.
"When you see our results in 2016, when we have that whole season, we are the champions. We have to show it every week now because of the fact that the gap is so big."
Victory over Sunderland on Saturday would move United within three points of the Champions League places as the top four are all playing the following day.
Unfortunately for Van Gaal, eight of his players are absent through injury.
Long-term absentees Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ashley Young remain sidelined while Phil Jones, Adnan Januzaj and Guillermo Varela all suffered injuries in the under-21s' 7-0 win over Norwich on Monday.
"We have a lot of injuries and we have to cope with that," Van Gaal said.
"When you play a lot of matches, it is more difficult."
Memphis Depay is pushing for his first start since the Boxing Day defeat to Stoke after setting up three of United's goals against the Canaries.
"It is for him a very good match because he could raise his confidence," Van Gaal said of the £25million summer signing.
"He had three assists and the fans' reaction was enthusiastic (towards him)."
Will Keane, who scored five goals on Monday, is in the squad for Saturday's game at the Stadium of Light.