Cape Town - Louis van Gaal believes that Manchester United are no longer feared by opposition after two-and-a-half years of relative struggle.
The Red Devils won the Premier League title in 2013, the last season under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, but have lost significant ground since during subsequent years with David Moyes and Van Gaal at the helm.
During Ferguson’s tenure, United were one of the most feared names in European football but, after watching his side lose to perennial strugglers Sunderland and Danish minnows FC Midtjylland in their last two games, the Dutchman believes teams are no longer fazed by the mere idea of facing Manchester United.
"When you see the last two games, it’s maybe like that," he told reporters. "But then we have to make them fear us again.
"We lost the first match in the Premier League also, against Swansea City, when I first came here.
"But then still we had a very good home record last season - and we can do that again. It’s a question of winning matches in a row.
"That I have said also already to the players, because you cannot continue with losing games."
Van Gaal’s side face Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup on Monday, and he says there can be no excuses for his troops should they fail to progress into the last eight of the competition.
"It’s not a question of being the favourite. It’s a question of having to see every match as a match you have to win," he said. "On Monday we have to win, and when we win we’re in the next round and capable of winning the FA Cup.
"It’s not always that you can say 'we shall win' and it’s normal. It’s not like that. But it’s always possible."