Man United only won three of their opening ten matches under Louis van Gaal, but they now need just six points from their final four games to achieve their goal of Champions League qualification.
The United boss has been happy with the team's progress - despite recent successive defeats - but he believes he could have been challenging for the title had it not been for their laboured start.
Speaking to the press today, Van Gaal said:
Man United manager Louis van Gaal read out a transfer list prepared by one of the club's supporters during Monday's Manchester United Foundation Dream Day.
Supporters who suffer from life limiting illnesses watched the team train yesterday before meeting some of their heroes at the complex.
In a touching video, the cheeky fan handed Van Gaal a list of players he should buy this summer, claiming he had "prepared some homework" for the Dutch manager.
Van Gaal duly obliged and pocketed the piece of paper before signing the fan's replica shirt.
Louis van Gaal is delighted with Chris Smalling's development this season and described the defender as "an integral" part of his plans after he signed a new deal with the club.
The Man United boss said:
Louis van Gaal is dreaming of recording his first Manchester derby win this weekend.
Dutchman Van Gaal lost in his first meeting with Manchester City last November when Sergio Aguero scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory for the Blues.
That was Manchester United's fourth successive loss to their neighbours, and Van Gaal is determined to avoid another reverse on Sunday when Manuel Pellegrini's men come to Old Trafford.
"I dream of it, every player shall dream of the victory," the United boss said in a press conference at Carrington.
Franck Ribery has described Man United manager Louis van Gaal as "a bad man" during their time together in Germany.
The French international looks back on his time with Van Gaal as a testing period, when he found it difficult connecting with the Dutch boss on a human level.
Speaking to Goal, Ribery confessed:
Louis van Gaal says Manchester United are aiming for second place in the Premier League after their 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The win moved United into third position and they will stay there if Manchester City lose at Crystal Palace on Monday.
The Dutchman's side are now also eight points ahead of Liverpool after their damaging back-to-back defeats at Old Trafford and at Arsenal, where they lost 4-1 on Saturday lunchtime.
Louis van Gaal believes he retains the full backing of the Glazer family despite a difficult first year in charge of Manchester United.
The next five matches will have a big bearing on whether Van Gaal's maiden season at the club will be regarded as a success or failure.
United are two points inside the top four with 10 matches to go and after Sunday's game against Tottenham, they face Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Despite a run of three defeats in 23 matches, some supporters have complained about a lack of tempo, flair and width from Van Gaal's side.
But, crucially, the United boss thinks he still has the support of the Glazer family, who own the club, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
"I have faith that I can complete my three years," the United manager said.
"I think they are pleased with my way of managing the club."
Louis van Gaal has backed Michael van Praag's bid to become FIFA president.
Van Gaal knows Van Praag as he worked under him at Ajax and with the Dutch national side.
Van Praag, the head of the Dutch Football Association, is one of three candidates vying to unseat current FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the others being Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein and former Portugal international Luis Figo.
And the Manchester United manager believes his 67-year-old compatriot is capable of heading world football's governing body, although he concedes it will be a tough job beating Blatter, who is determined to extend his 17-year reign.