Gary Neville believes that Manchester United will 'scrape' into the top four this season - but insists that manager Louis van Gaal shouldn't be sacked if they miss out.
The Red Devils dropped down to fourth in the Premier League table after their 2-1 defeat against Swansea at the weekend, with just three points separating them from Tottenham in seventh place.
Van Gaal has come in for criticism because of his side's lack of form - they've won just four of their last 10 league encounters - while he's also been panned for some of his tactical decisions this term.
However former Manchester United defender-turned-pundit Gary Neville believes that they should still make it into the top four and secure Champions League qualification, and warned his former club against letting Van Gaal go if they do eventually miss out.
Speaking on TalkSPORT's Drivetime show, the England coach said when quizzed over whether Van Gaal would be let go at the end of the season if he failed to deliver Champions League football: "Absolutely not, he shouldn't be sacked. It would be a terrible season for Manchester United and I think that Louis van Gaal himself would probably say it was a big failure because he knows his job this year and he knows his job is to get into the Champions League.
"If he didn't, you can't just sack a manager one year then sack another a year later, where do you go from there? There has to be some level of continuity and I absolutely believe that this time there will be continuity and they will stand by him.
When pushed over whether Manchester United will make the top four, Neville said: "I think they will scrape in. At the beginning of the season I thought they would get third. There's period in March were they've got Arsenal in the FA Cup, then Tottenham, Liverpool, then Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea.
"That will be a big period but actually Louis van Gaal and Manchester United started the season poorly then all of a sudden these big games came along and they started performing. I actually think these games will inspire the bigger players."
Despite Neville's optimism not everyone believes that Van Gaal is the right man for the job at Old Trafford. Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has hit out at his Dutch rival for being the type of manager who 'thinks he knows everything', as well as one who instils 'fear' into his team.
The Red Devils have just three months left to find their feet under Van Gaal and start producing their best football. They may have to win as many as eight of their last 12 Premier League games and while they haven't been losing on a regular basis, they haven't been winning and that may prove to be a step too far.