Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes it is difficult for his side to fulfil expectations with their current injury problems and congested fixture list.
United needed a late free-kick from Juan Mata to see off Watford 1-0 at Old Trafford on Wednesday and move level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League.
That result made it four wins in a row in all competitions in the space of nine days for United, who have had up to 13 players out through injury during that time.
With Van Gaal’s men still competing for silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League, their workload could yet increase further.
“Players are coming back, but I still have to solve a problem in my line-up every week,” Van Gaal said.
“When players are coming back, they are not fit enough. You’ve seen how [Marcos] Rojo was struggling [against Watford]. I give them 20 minutes and then 50 minutes and 70 minutes and I have to do that within Premier League matches.
“It is better to do that in the second team, but I am forced to do that. The last four matches have been great, but we still have to go step by step.
“You can see the statistics, and how many players are injured and from what date. You can see how difficult it has been, but still we have the possibility of finishing in the first four in the league. We’re also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the last 16 of the Europa League. I think that’s not bad.
“We could still have 20 matches to go and we’ve already played 43 matches, so that’s more than 60 matches. When I was coach at Bayern Munich, we played 55 including the final of the Champions League. It’s very difficult to fulfil the expectation.”
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