LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Leicester striker Jamie Vardy deserves the accolade of "great", Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday.
And Van Gaal, who has worked with some great strikers over the years, went as far as to say he would not discount the possibility that Vardy could keep his side in contention for the Premier League title.
Vardy's 13 goals this season have taken Leicester to the top of the table, a point ahead of United before the two meet at the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.
Vardy scored against United when Leicester came back from 3-1 down to win 5-3 last September and if the England international, 28, repeats the feat he will set a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 successive league games.
Van Gaal said: "He was already last season a very nasty player for us. He scored and provoked a penalty and now he is scoring 10 games in a row. Then you are a great player.
From factory floor to record books for Leicester's Vardy
"I only know Dennis Bergkamp as a player at home who did the same with Ajax. It's not so easy to do that."
Leicester have been the league's surprise package this season under the guidance of former Chelsea, Juventus and Roma manager Claudio Ranieri.
They have lost only once and van Gaal believes they could be unlikely champions.
He added: "Normally this kind of club can be a long time competing, but at the end it is more difficult.
"But in England, because of the quality of the teams and because every team has the money to buy players - and they have bought players - the difference in the Premier League between clubs is not so high, so it's possible I think."
Van Gaal worried by United's attacking woes
United have their own eyes on the title but whereas Vardy can't stop scoring, their problems in front of goal have been well documented.
A 0-0 draw with PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night was their fourth stalemate in seven games and left them needing a win in their final group game at Wolfsburg to advance in the Champions League.
Their performance against the Dutch champions was heavily criticised by pundits, former United players and some supporters.
Van Gaal's side is building from a solid base with 14 clean sheets in their last 22 games but van Gaal admits he wants to keep the supporters entertained.
He said: "Of course, because the fans have to be happy. You are playing for the fans so you cannot deny that.
Last 16 in view for Van Gaal's hardy Man Utd
"But also you have to see how our opponents are playing against us, and when you see how they play, you know the difficulty of organising against that type of opponent.
"We are still not lucky in finishing the chances. We are creating chances, and when we are not creating, then maybe I am worried.
"But we are not giving much away. That is why we are second in the league and in our CL group."
United will again be without Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones.
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