Louis van Gaal feels that Manchester United have improved on his debut season during his second campaign at the helm.
United – who finished fourth last season – are preparing to face Everton in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
They sit fifth in the Premier League with four matches to play, having crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage before losing to Liverpool in the Europa League and Middlesbrough in the League Cup fourth round.
But Van Gaal believes his team’s FA Cup progress is a sign of how far they have come after losing out in the last eight to Arsenal last time around.
“We are further than last year,” the Dutchman said.
“We were in the quarter-finals, now we are in the semi-finals. I believe that means we are better than last year.
“It is not for me to judge [how important this game is]. I have said this already.
“I do my utmost best. We are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are in the race for the fourth position and that was our aim.”
Van Gaal is relieved to have most of his squad available for selection against Everton and says it is tough to whittle his selection down to 18.
He continued: “We have a squad of fit players. I must select 18 players and I have 24 who are fit, so I have to disappoint six of them.
“The squad is nearly fit. Only Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luke Shaw and maybe Adnan Januzaj – because he has not yet played for the second team – are unable to play.”
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