Louis Van Gaal: I've won it before and I will do it again with Manchester United
Buoyed by his team going top of the Premier League, Louis van Gaal has suggested that Manchester United are capable of winning the Champions League.
Van Gaal never required much encouragement to issue reminders that he won the trophy in 1995, with Ajax. And at a time when he is making comparisons between Anthony Martial and Patrick Kluivert - his prodigy who played a match-winning role against Milan in that final - the Dutchman believes that he can do it again.
"I think we can because I've done it before," said van Gaal who accepted that United must beat Wolfsburg at Old Trafford tonight to get their European campaign back on the track after the 2-1 defeat against PSV Eindhoven a fortnight ago.
"I think in the Champions League you need to win all your home matches - otherwise it will be very difficult."
"We have made progressions in the maturity of the team and the balance of the team. That is why Bastian Schweinsteiger is here and [Morgan] Schneiderlin also gives more composure to the team.
"We have improved when we have to compare us with the team of last year, but we need still time.
"We have to improve to win the Premier League or a tournament like the Champions League. We are still improving and I can see that every week.
"Reaching the final is an aim. For me as a manager, when you reach the final you have done fantastic.
"Winning the final is a little bit luck - it is not only quality. I think Manchester United knows and remembers that fantastically when they win the Champions League [in 1999]. I saw, at that time, the people of Bayern Munich going downstairs and then United scored in the last minute and then in extra time they scored again. You can say that is quality, but when you see the match, you know it is not like that."
Schweinsteiger, who won Europe's top club prize with Bayern Munich, believes it is tougher for English clubs to win the Champions League because of the gruelling domestic schedule, but the German remains convinced that United are good enough to do so.
The 31-year-old arrived in England followed by whispers that his physical powers are in sharp decline, but the World Cup winner once again took the opportunity to shrug off the Bavarian smear campaign, as he talked excitedly about United's rapid improvement.
Schweinsteiger has not started every game for United, but he has been involved in all seven of their Premier League fixtures, as well as all three of their European matches.
Having looked heavy in his first few appearances in pre-season, Schweinsteiger is proving he was signed to make an impact on the pitch, as well as in the dressing room.
"I think this team is good enough to win it," he said. "But, of course, first of all we have to do our work.
"Of course there is a difference playing in England to the Bundesliga because there are a lot of matches and there is no winter break.
"But you also have the ball in games and, if you look after the ball properly, you can handle the physical demands of the Premier League better. I feel good, my body is working really well and I'm happy about that. I'm looking forward to playing in all these matches. (© Independent News Service)
Manchester United v Wolfsburg, Live, RTE2 and BT Sport, 7.45