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Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has claimed that his team's struggles this season have been caused by the number of injuries they have suffered.
The Dutchman has been under intense pressure for the last couple of months as a rotten run of form has seen Utd fall 10 points behind league leaders Leicester City and exit the Champions League at the group stage.
Much of the criticism of Van Gaal has been aimed at the negative football his side play, failing to score a single goal in the first half of the last 11 league games at Old Trafford and registering the lowest goals tally for this stage of the season since the Premier League began.
With only two wins in their last 10 league games, Utd have fallen out of the top four and the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss believes injuries to players such as Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Bastian Schweinsteiger are to blame.
"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," he said.
"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 OK, maybe I am guilty, and then I have to step down. But I don't have that feeling."
Van Gaal has also been criticised for allowing Javier Hernandez, Nani, Angel Di Maria, Jonny Evans and Rafael leave the club last summer with all five impressing for their new clubs this season.
"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," he added.
"At that time I could not predict we would have eight