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Louis van Gaal: I think we have very good defensive organisation


Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is to contest an FA charge

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is to contest an FA charge

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is to contest an FA charge

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal admits he is still a long way off being satisfied with his side's progress.

Van Gaal has overseen an improvement in United's Barclays Premier League situation this term with the team, after last season's seventh-placed finish, currently on course for a top-four spot.

They also still have a realistic shot at silverware in the FA Cup, having reached the fifth round this week.

But, as their initial struggles against Cambridge indicated - the League Two side having taken them to a fourth-round replay - United are still to truly convince under the Dutchman.

The former Holland, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach accepts he still has much to do to restore the club to their former glory.

He said: "I am only satisfied at the end of the season - to be third and in the next round doesn't count now.

"We are on our way but we have to play a lot of matches still and there are still three to go to the final. That is our goal. We have to wait and see if we reach that goal."

United have lost just once in their last 16 games in all competitions and travel to West Ham on Sunday buoyed by comfortable victories over Leicester and Cambridge in the past week.

Van Gaal wants to maintain the momentum but is preparing for a difficult afternoon at Upton Park against a West Ham side that have been among the front-runners this season.

The 63-year-old said: "I said at the beginning of the week, before the game against Leicester, that this shall be an important week, that we had to win all the three matches.

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"We beat Leicester to go third, after that we beat Cambridge, so we are in the next round of the FA Cup. Now we have to continue. All the players know that is true.

"But it is not so easy. We have to play away against West Ham. It was a tough game in Manchester. It shall not be easy but we want to continue and if we want that we have to win in London."

Some of United's performances have been disjointed. The efficiency of their defence and Van Gaal's tactics have been a running issue while their formidable-looking attack has not fully fired in recent weeks.

Van Gaal recognises the faults but believes when United do get it right, their play should rank alongside the best.

He said: "It is not a question of playing with wingers or without wingers, with three defenders or four. It is the play style that is attractive.

"Okay, until now we could have played better in ball possession - we have had unnecessary losses in ball possession and we have to improve that.

"But I think we have a very good defensive organisation and also a very good attacking organisation. We are fourth in the scoring goals league and also third or fourth in the defensive way of playing.

"I don't think we are very bad - we are very good - but we can improve.

"We have to improve a lot in my opinion, but at the end maybe we can see we are the best team."

Midfielder Michael Carrick remains United's only fitness concern for Sunday with a calf injury.

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