Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal insists that winning the Premier League title remains a goal for him and the players despite being 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea heading into Friday's fixtures.
The 63-year-old Dutchman -- who originally said when he took over after the World Cup this year that he foresaw a three year rebuilding process -- has overseen a revival in the club's fortunes in recent months after a poor start to his reign which was Manchester United's worst since the 1986/87 season.
However, he takes United into the home game with Newcastle on Friday on the back of a run of six wins and a draw.
"Our goal is still to be the champion at the end of the season. It is always to be first," Van Gaal said.
Van Gaal, who earlier this year guided the Dutch to the World Cup semi-finals where they lost on penalties to Argentina, has spent 150 million pounds on new players and says that United can do better than the target set by the board at the outset of the season.
The board's goal was for United to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League which is something they failed to achieve last term under the disastrous stewardship of David Moyes, who was sacked towards the end of the season and replaced temporarily by Ryan Giggs.
"With my players and all the staff, we are trying to achieve more than they expect," said van Gaal.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)