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Louis van Gaal says FA Cup important, but not Man United's priority

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has suggested that he would swap success in this season's FA Cup for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Van Gaal has said on numerous occasions that he is determined to do all he can to win a trophy in his first season as United boss, with Monday's FA Cup quarterfinal against Arsenal offering him a chance to take a step closer to that ambition.

Yet when pressed by reporters on where his priorities lie over the final weeks of this season, Van Gaal made it clear that guiding United back into the Champions League is the first goal he is after.

"Of course, as a manager you always want to win things," he said. "I am no different and I can tell you that we shall do our best against Arsenal, but I also say this: My target at the start of this season was to finish in the top four and that is till my target. If I have a priority, then it is the top four.

"The Arsenal game is very important. Every match you play has an influence on the next match. We are in a rat race in the Premier League and whoever wins the FA Cup game has a good feeling for the next matches.

"I think that Arsene Wenger is right -- I think that Arsene Wenger is always saying right things -- for a club, Champions League is the highest level and that's why he's saying that.

"To finish in the first four is a fantastic result and for us at Manchester United even more I think. If you win the FA Cup you are not in the Champions League but you have won a title."

Van Gaal will need to shuffle his defensive pack for the cup clash with Arsenal after it was confirmed that the first of Jonny Evans' six-match suspension for spitting at Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse will be served on Monday.

Striker Robin van Persie will also miss the game against his old club because of an ankle injury.

Marouane Fellaini admits United face a "massive game" against Arsenal if they are to end the season with a trophy.

The Belgium midfielder, who was on the losing side at a Wembley FA Cup final with Everton, insists however that Louis van Gaal's side can take confidence from their last-gap win over Newcastle in midweek.

He says however that United need to win at Old Trafford to avoid a tough replay at the Emirates.

Fellaini told MUTV: "It will be a challenge. Monday is a massive game. We have to win it in one game because playing at Arsenal would be difficult. The FA Cup is a special competition, a big trophy in England. I lost a final. I played in a semi-final. This season, I can win it.

"We have showed spirit already a lot of times now and we have to continue like that. We have a big game on Monday, so it is good for the confidence.

"We always keep going and scored in the last minute [ against Newcastle]. The spirit was good, we kept going and that is important."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.