Reeling from arguably the most humiliating loss in the club's illustrious history, the prospect of Manchester United being European champions by 2017 seems far-fetched.

Yet that is the target new manager Louis van Gaal has set the club as part of an ambitious three-year plan.

Van Gaal says Friday "I hope we are in the top four this season . and then maybe the next step is to be (English) champions and then the next step is to be the winners of the Champions League."

Those comments could invite ridicule considering how United performed last season under David Moyes and started this season under Van Gaal.

After earning just one point from matches against Swansea and Sunderland, United lost 4-0 to third-tier MK Dons in the League Cup on Tuesday.