Manchester United kept their hopes of winning silverware this season through a late goal from Anthony Martial, which forced a replay with West Ham United in the FA Cup quarter finals. The Red Devils' are also in contention in the Europa League, but face an uphill task to turn over a 2-0 deficit against a rejuvenated Liverpool side in the second leg on Thursday (17 March).
The Dutch manager is confident that the Old Trafford club have it in them to make the finals in the cup competitions, as he believes that they are still competing on three fronts. The 20-time English champions may not be in the title race in the Premier League, but are battling for a place in the top four along with West Ham, Manchester City and Arsenal, with the four clubs separated by just five points.
The Old Trafford club's injury crisis is slowly but surely easing, and after having 13 first-team stars on the treatment table, they currently have just four players sidelined, with none of them expected to return in the short term. Van Gaal, however, has given them a positive boost to aid with their recovery process by indicating that they could all be involved in a cup final in May.
The latest additions to the first-team were Bastian Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian with Antonio Valencia close to making a comeback following his 45-minute spell for the United U21 side. Despite a bad week for the Red Devils, which saw them lose to arch rivals Liverpool and fail to beat West Ham at home in the FA Cup, the manager believes that the team's spirit has returned going into the final part of the season.
"I have seen an entertaining match and we are still in three competitions. So I said that to Shaw, Rooney and Young, all the players, you can still play in the final," Van Gaal said, as quoted by United's official site.
"It's very important to still be in the cup because a lot of players are still coming back and now you have seen Schweinsteiger play again for 15 minutes so I have more choices. But I still have to build up a number of players in the coming weeks, which is not so easy."
"I like the way Schweinsteiger came in but he is still not ready for 90 minutes. Of course, [Guillermo] Varela is playing at the moment and Matteo Darmian is not playing. He is doing it very well which is the reason I play him but maybe, next time, Darmian will play," the Dutchman added.
"There's fantastic spirit in the team in spite of the very nasty week in a lot of aspects. I'm very proud of my players and the fans are also very proud. They were enthusiastic and applauded when the players were going off the pitch."