Louis van Gaal has been adament that he is staying put at Manchester United next season, seeing out the third year of his contract, but today made a point that the board had to decide whether that would be the case or not.

Having been asked whether he would struggle to motivate the players next season, with them knowing his contract was set to expire, Van Gaal responded by saying he has been able to guide them to the FA Cup final in these circumstances.

You and your collegues have already sacked me for six months. So I have worked with my players in these circumstances for six months, and we are still in the race. We can win the FA Cup. How many clubs can still say they are still in the race? Of course, if we don’t qualify, we don’t reach our aim, because our aim was the qualify for the Champions League. But we are in the final of the FA and in the last match we are still in the race.

You can say ‘Manchester United need to be champions’, and I know the expectations are like that. But I don’t think it’s realistic. I have said I shall be here, that’s my opinion. The board has to decide if it’s like that. That’s a different way of looking at the situation.

When pushed on whether he would struggle to motivate players in the final year of his contract, he insisted he had experience of doing that in other jobs, and had still been able to motivate players at United despite rumours surrounding his future.

I have done it already, in very difficult circumstances. I’ve had 14 injuries and you’ve sacked me for five, six, seven months. I can motivate players, that’s my ability as a manager, I can motivate players. And in this difficult situation I am still doing it. I always put targets in front of me. And now I have said after this job I will spoil my wife, and I shall do that. It is not a problem, even when the players know that [I am leaving].

The facts are now we are still fighting for Champions League qualification. We are dependable on Manchester City, but we are still fighting. And we are still fighting for the FA Cup. Then we shall see what the board decides.

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