Louis van Gaal: Manchester United can win Champions League by 2017

Louis van Gaal says winning the Champions League this season or next with Manchester United is a "realistic" target due to his past success in the competition.

The 64-year-old Dutchman's current contract expires in 2017 and while he has not ruled out accepting an extension, he is determined to steer United into Europe's biggest game before he goes.

United did not compete in the Champions League during Van Gaal's first season in Manchester having only finished seventh in the Premier League in 2014, and lost this season's opening group game 2-1 to PSV Eindhoven.

But Van Gaal, who was a Champions League winner in 1995, believes it is possible to reach a fourth final after taking Ajax to the 1996 showpiece, while Bayern Munich were runners-up in 2010.

When asked whether he could lift the trophy by 2017, Van Gaal told a news conference on Tuesday: "I hope so. That is realistic, because I did it everywhere."

Van Gaal drew on memories of United's triumph in 1999 -- when they beat Bayern 2-1 with two late goals -- to argue that fortune can play a major part in the destination of the Champions League, but argued that getting to the final ranks as a major achievement.

"Reaching the final is an aim and winning the final [needs] a little bit [of] luck," he said. "It is not only quality, it is also luck and I think Manchester United knows and remembers that fantastically when they win the Champions League.

"I saw at that time the people of Bayern Munich going downstairs and then [United] scored in the last minute and then in injury time they scored.

"You can say that is quality but when you see the match you know it is not like that. When you come in the final, it is a fantastic but in the media it is nothing.

"For me as a manager, when you reach the final, you have done fantastically -- and when you win the final, of course, all the honours are going to your team and yourself."

Van Gaal has already delayed his retirement once and believes he would face a task to persuade his wife Truus that he wants to stay on if he has not realised his aim in the next two seasons, when their holiday home in Portugal beckons.

"Normally I shall leave after next year but what is normal in our football world?" he added. "You never know so I cannot answer that question, but I promised my wife to go with her to our paradise so it shall be very hard for me to deny that promise.

"I was 55 and I [went] to Bayern Munich and next year I am 65, and it shall be very hard to say to my wife that I stay a year longer."