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Van Gaal still cautious over top-four finish but pleased

LOUIS Van Gaal believes Man United are now on the right path to qualify for the Champions League but stopped short of saying he expects to finish in the top four.

He said: "No because at the end of the season it counts, now doesn't count. We are going the right way despite the injuries we've had, we are at the right way. I think the main important thing is that the players want to follow the philosophy which is why despite the many changes we could continue.

"I could have chosen other clubs but this was the challenge for me. But I know of course it is a big challenge, not so easy, but I accept that."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal insists he is not surprised at his former striker Graziano Pelle's success in the Premier League - because he believes the Italian shares many of the same qualities as Robin van Persie.

Pelle played under Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar, and then under current Saints boss Ronald Koeman, who brought the striker with him to St Mary's. He has already scored nine goals in his first season in England.

The United manager said: "I am not surprised (at his success) because I bought him at AZ as he was an attacking point.

"I've said about Van Persie that I like strikers who are an attacking point, not only a striker who scores goals.

"He is also very creative. He is always seeing the third man. Van Persie is also always seeing the third man. Those kind of strikers are the ones I like. So it is not surprising. It may be surprising that he scores nine goals - that is a lot - but he can do it. I knew that.

"I had Shota Arveladze, one of the best strikers I have trained in my career. I have trained a lot of strikers but he was one of the best and he had to compete with him.

"So that was not so easy for him but later on he came in the squad and showed his capacity but he later on he showed that much more and when Koeman bought him - because he was also manager of AZ - he took him with him to Feyenoord and he explodes. It is fantastic for him."