Cape Town - Manchester United legend Paddy Crerand believes the current crop of players can go on to acheive big things.
"If we get an injury-free spell and the manager gets a settled team then that will make a huge difference," Crerand told ManUtd.com.
"You have to fancy Chelsea in the league, but Europe could affect some of the other teams at the top of the table and that could play to our advantage.
"We want to be in the Champions League, of course we do. Everybody does, and getting back there is our big aim this season. Most people were expecting big things this year and because of the injury situation it's not happened so far. It's just a case of getting everyone fit. United can go on a long run of games and we've got to see that happen. It will happen, I'm confident of that."
Van Gaal is piecing the jigsaw together, instilling his philosophy at Old Trafford and doing it with new players after a summer featuring numerous squad changes.
"It's a new squad with everybody getting to know each other," added Crerand.
"Every day the players are training together but the important thing is playing together.
"Without Champions League football you could say there is time to get things right and develop that understanding on the training ground, but with fewer games you have fewer opportunities to work on it when it really matters: in matches.
"Injuries haven't helped because you want players to be playing together. But you can see signs that things are coming together and I was really encouraged by the performance against Manchester City, even though ultimately we were disappointed to lose.
"The more these players play together, the better they'll get to know each other's style, what the guy next to you likes and doesn't like. At the same time we have to get a win to lift confidence further and get back up that league."
Manchester United face Crystal Palace when English Premiership action resumes this weekend. The Red Devils will be looking for nothing less than a convincing win at Old Trafford on Saturday (17:00 kick-off).