Top four the priority - Van Persie

Robin van Persie said everything is in place for Manchester United to return to the UEFA Champions League.

United have endured a mixed start to life under new manager Louis van Gaal, winning just two of their opening six Premier League fixtures.

There is plenty of cause for optimism at Old Trafford, however, after United spent almost £141 million on the likes of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao before the transfer window shut in September.

And while United are yet to completely convince, Dutch striker Van Persie said he believes the Manchester club will be among the top four at the end of May.

"That's our aim this year to be sure," he said. "To be in the top four.

"If you look at our players, fans, squad, stadium, it's normal to be in the top four. This year we have a great manager, great staff, great fans so, when you look at everything together, it makes it hard [not to be in the Champions League].

"Everything is in place to be up there competing with the very best teams. I think we can do it and we will."

With United's fragile defence under the spotlight, having conceded nine goals in six games, the pressure is on the club's attackers to produce the goods.

Falcao, Di Maria and captain Wayne Rooney and are all at Van Gaal's disposal and Van Persie - buoyed after Saturday's 2-1 win over West Ham - is confident the quartet can strike fear into their opponents.

"I think we can be able to actually do that. If you look at these players, they are great players in their individual way," Van Persie said.

"But now we are working together on this project and I think games like winning 4-0 against QPR help. We had a setback against Leicester [losing 5-3], but to win in these circumstances like the weekend sends a message and shows that even in these difficult games we can win. Now we have to extend that.

"The first half was 11 v 11 and we were playing really well as a whole team. Eight minutes later it was 10 v 11 and the whole thing changed, but the way we fought for each other was unbelievable.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking at times, but we dug in and we did it so it gave us a lot of confidence."