Louis van Gaal has admitted he would love to become the next Manchester United manager, with the Dutchman claiming the Premier League champions are "the biggest club in the world".
The 62-year-old's comments are the first time he has spoken of the prospect of becoming David Moyes's successor at Old Trafford, a position he is expected to be confirmed in next week.
"I would love the job," Van Gaal told the BBC. "I hope that I shall be the one. It's the biggest club in the world and it's a fantastic challenge."
United want to wait until their season ends on Sunday before making an announcement over their next manager. "You [reporters] are thinking I'm the man but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that," Van Gaal said.
He insisted he would not allow the attention over his future to distract him from the immediate task of leading Holland at the World Cup. "I have to focus on my job," he said. "I am coach of the Dutch national team. I have waited a long time to be in a World Cup, so that's very important. This doesn't affect me. I have always had offers. I know what the football world is and what it means."
The delay by United in confirming their manager comes as a surprise given Wednesday's apparent deadline – imposed by Van Gaal and the Dutch Football Association – to have his future sorted out before he begins preparations for the World Cup.
Van Gaal may not be able to start until mid-July if they have a successful campaign, but he is expected to offer Ryan Giggs the chance to be his No2, with the Welshman minded to accept.
Despite United's dismal defence of the Premier League title under Moyes, Van Gaal is confident he can lead United to their 21st such triumph. Players he is interested in include Bayern Munich's Thomas Müller and Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus.
The United defender Rio Ferdinand says the United squad have little idea when an appointment will be made. He told BT Sport: "All the papers have been talking about Klopp, Simeone, Van Gaal, Giggsy getting it, Ancelotti, Mourinho – but we're like guys sitting in the pub discussing it. If you believe and listen to the reports going around, it'll be someone with real credentials who has been at big clubs and won a lot of things."
Of the 3-1 victory over Hull City, in which Giggs gave the younger generation a chance to shine, Ferdinand added: "It was a night of mixed emotions, to see those two young boys starting and both of them did so well, and they looked so comfortable. James [Wilson] will obviously get the headlines because of his goals but I thought Tom [Lawrence] was terrific as well. To finish at the end with Vida [Nemanja Vidic] and Giggs nearly scoring, so there were mixed emotions and it was a funny night really."
Michael Carrick is insistent that whoever takes over will find a group who want to challenge again next season rather than be content with winning a Champions League place.
"There is no way we are settling for top-four," he said. "That is not something we do here. I am not standing here and saying we are going to win the league next season but that is what our goal is and anything less is not worth thinking about. Certainly top four is not something that we will settle for."
Regarding how many new additions United need, Carrick added: "Listen, this club moves forward all the time and we are always trying to bring players through, groom players and develop them. You could say this is the start of something else because there are going to be changes between now and next season.
"How much change, we will have to wait and see but it is about getting strong, improving and coming back next year to fight on all fronts again. That is certainly what the aim is and we shouldn't be aiming for anything less.
"It is easy to say there will be wholesale changes because obviously we haven't had a good season.
"If you look within the squad, there are some good players there. There probably needs to be some changes in some way because that is natural, with the situation we are in at the moment, but you can't change too much because it is hard. Bringing players in is tough enough and we will just have to wait and see how it pans out."