Louis van Gaal says Manchester United have made improvements from last season despite their embarrassing Champions League group stage exit.
United suffered an ignominious 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg which ended their interest in the tournament as the result meant they finished third in the group and dropped into the Europa League.
However, being in the Premier League title race and further progress in the League Cup are factors which Van Gaal believes is an indication of improvement under the Dutchman.
“At the moment I cannot defend myself because we are out of the Champions League,” Van Gaal told reporters after the game.
“Every word I say is wrong. But when you see the facts, we were further in the [League] Cup [than last season], qualified for the Champions League group, we have played all these matches and are still in a very good position in the league.
“We are better than last year. That’s my answer because I can only give facts. I’m also disappointed that we are out of the Champions League.”
Antony Martial’s opener was cancelled out by strikes by Naldo and Vieirinha before Josuha Guivalogui’s own goal gave United hope which was later extinguished by Naldo’s winner.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand summed up the club’s plight. He told BT Sport: “Manchester United should be mentioned in the same breath as PSG, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. You’re used to seeing that but at the moment they’re a long way short.”