Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has made it clear that he has no plans of prematurely ending his stay at Old Trafford despite coming under intense scrutiny in recent months. The Dutch manager has been at the receiving end of the Red Devils supporters owing to his team's poor performances in recent games. The latest came with their seventh defeat of the season at the hands of Southampton, which leaves them 10 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City.

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager has denied speculation that he offered to resign from his post following his team's poor performances in recent weeks, and has made it clear that he will stay until the end of his contract in 2017. United, who were leading the table at the end of September, have gradually slipped down and are currently in fifth place, and their poor run since the end of November, which has seen them win just two out of their last ten Premier League games, is cause for concern.

Van Gaal believes one of the main reasons for their struggles this campaign and his team's lack of progress is due to the massive injury crisis that is currently affecting the team. The 20-time English champions are currently without eight first-team stars and most are long-term injuries, which have affected the balance of the team in recent months. The main cause for concern is the full-back position, as they are currently without any first choice left-back or right-back forcing the manager to call up players from the youth team to provide cover in what is a crucial part of the season.

"Everybody knows I have signed a three year contract and I have said it is a process. It is not one game it is a process and I want to continue until the end," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"If I was not willing to do that, I don't think I would have started here one and a half years ago."

"When I say things to defend myself then it is not good. Why do I have to defend myself? It is not good when I am always here in the press conference to defend myself. I don't want to defend myself, I want to analyse what is happening at Manchester United."

"When you see the circumstances that we have eight injuries, you cannot say that is the manager's fault because there are five or six contact injuries and also in the same positions," the Dutch manager explained.

"We have been first in the Premier League, may you remember that. That was one and a half months ago but the injuries are now and that is also a problem. When I can prevent that then okay maybe I am guilty and then I have to step down. But I don't have that feeling."

Champions League qualification

United are in danger of missing out of the Champions League for the second time in three seasons as they struggle to put together a consistent run in the Premier League. They are currently five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy fourth place on the table. The manager is hoping to get a reprieve on the injury front and admits that as long there is belief, it is possible to finish in the top four.

"It is dependable when the players are coming back. We have five injuries that are normally long term injuries because they are contact injuries."

"You can say it was better to have kept all the players in the summer but I have explained already that we are convinced of the fact that you have to motivate the players and when you have big selection that is more difficult. At that time I could not predict we would have eight injuries."

"But we can fulfil the expectations. I am more dependable on belief than facts. The facts is now that we are not in the top four, the gap is bigger, so the belief is not so easy to believe," the former Bayern Munich manager added.