Louis van Gaal has stressed the importance of Manchester United adding “creative, fast” attackers to their squad this summer.
Van Gaal’s position at Old Trafford will come under increased scrutiny should United fail to reach the top four this season, but the Dutchman snapped when talk turned to falling short at his press conference on Friday.
“Still, I have to remind you that we can qualify ourselves,” he said ahead of Sunday’s final game against Bournemouth.
“Okay, so we are speaking ‘if’ and I don’t like ‘if’ – it has to be facts.
“But I can say what we have to improve still, because I don’t think we have to improve defensive organisation too much because we are doing well.
“We have to score more in our attacking organisation. That is what I have said before this season – that we need creative, fast players in attack.
“We have to change that and that is very important.”
Van Gaal, whose name was not mentioned by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in either the statement accompanying United’s third-quarter financial results published on Friday or the conference call to investors which followed it, is not only evaluating his players’ performances but his own.
He says it is something he will continue to do “next season”, underlining his belief that he will see out the final year of his contract despite growing speculation that he will replaced at the end of the season.
“I am always evaluating and always adapting to the situation where we stand for,” he said.
“It’s always the same, you have to evaluate yourself and not only yourself, but also your staff and players.
“You have to communicate and you have to listen to each other and I’m doing that. That shall be done also next season.
“The principles are always the same, except when one of the members of my staff or players or board members can convince me of other arguments.”
Van Gaal was less forthcoming when it came to extending Michael Carrick’s contract – “it’s not a matter that I discuss with you” – and the move of reported target Renato Sanches of Benfica to Bayern Munich.
“There are three parties,” he said.
“I only have one party under control and not three parties.”