Manchester United have improved since last season, according to manager Louis van Gaal.

Van Gaal’s second season has seen United crash out of the Champions League and Europa League, while the club are also outside the top four in fifth place and have attracted criticism for their boring style of play.

However, the Dutchman insists that they have made progress on his first season — when they finished fourth and reached the FA Cup quarterfinals before being knocked out by Arsenal.

“We are further than last year,” he told a news conference ahead of the club’s first FA Cup semifinal since 2011 against Everton at Wembley on Saturday. “We were in the quarterfinals, now we are in the semifinals, I believe, that means we are better than last year.

“It’s not to me to judge that I have said that already in former press conferences, so I do my utmost best and I said that we are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, we are still in the race for fourth in the Premier League and that was our aim.”

Everton stars John Stones and Ross Barkley have been linked with moves to Old Trafford, but Van Gaal would not be drawn on their future when asked about the pair.

“I cannot speak about individuals, especially not about players of another club otherwise they are thinking we are interested in them,” he added. “And that is not good for Manchester United or Everton.”