Louis van Gaal is adamant Manchester United have made improvement under him.
He insisted, after all the club’s injuries, that qualifying for the Champions League would be a “fantastic achievement.”
Van Gaal said: “This has been a much better season than last, when we finished fourth.
“Now, we are in the top five despite at times having 14 or 15 injuries, we are in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup and we are still in the Europa League.
“Last season at this stage, we were training only for Premier League games.
“We have improved – we are better and our team is better. We have been in the top five all season. Fifth might look worse but it is not like that.
“It would be a fantastic achievement if we reach the Champions League and a fantastic job by my staff.
“Injuries are an excuse but you have to analyse. Last season maybe our training programme was too heavy.
“But this season our injuries have not been our fault. They have not been muscle injuries – they have been contact injuries. But it means young players have been given their chance and I have given them a lot of chances.
“When I made my maiden speech to the owners and Ed, they told me the culture of the club and why they wanted me – because I have a record for developing young players.
“That was one of the reasons I was appointed. And it is easier to show youngsters what to do than senior players, who have their own opinions.
“I am like a teacher and these young players can learn a lot.
“For instance, in training this week we have simulated the way West Brom play.
“The young players have learned that. They are on the threshold but they have to be open to learn.”