The new-look Manchester United have started the season slowly, with little sign that they might mount a title challenge. But despite injuries that have left the defence badly exposed, and an expensively-assembled frontline failing to fire, the team somehow sit in fourth, leaving experts baffled.
"For the lads, it's a great boost to this club to be in the Champions League places despite not having had a decent result since last November," said Van Gaal. "As I always tell them, the table never lies. Except this table, which is plainly a mistake.
"I mean, we've lost to Leicester and Swansea and drawn with Sunderland and Burnley, so there's no way we're fourth. I'd say we're more like 12th. Maybe eighth at best. Someone's clearly made a mistake somewhere, and hopefully we can build on that for the rest of the season."
Van Gaal acknowledged that anything can happen with typos, telling FourFourTwo: "After this weekend, we might be top, we might be bottom, we might have found the club's name has been replaced with "DATA ERROR–PLEASE RESTART. Someone's definitely getting fired for this, but it sure as hell isn't me."
This is not the first time the Premier League has been accused of publishing erroneous tables. Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League every year since 2000 despite routinely having disastrous seasons, while it really feels like West Brom should have been relegated at least three years ago.
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