Manchester United Fans Will Need to Prepare For a Season of Tedious Tactics Under Louis Van Gaal

Newly appointed Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has his critics on whether or not the Dutch coach’s teams play attractive soccer. Following a 2-0 victory over Chile in this summer’s World Cup, van Gaal was asked by a journalist if his tactics were attacking enough. Van Gaal quipped, “Could you give me a definition of attacking football? That’s my question to you. I’m asking you, if you have such a clever question… If you’re going to ask me questions, I’m going to ask you questions.”

Van Gaal went on to say, “It’s all about winning, so I use the system I think will let me win… that’s what I think football is.  You have to evaluate a strategy that will help you win, and this is the proof in the pudding.  We’re not giving away games and we’re winning.”

The Netherlands ended up finishing third in the World Cup, and scored 15 total goals (including 10 in the group stage) during the tournament.

Former Chelsea and Newcastle United manager Ruud Gullit also noticed the unattractive style of play by his countryman.  Gullit claimed, “Louis has completely changed his vision of football after his success with the Dutch national team in the World Cup.  He made a tactical switch in order to survive in Brazil.  The fact things turned out so well was surprising, and good for Dutch football.”

Gullit finished by saying, “But that success has clearly changed something about him.  He wants to use the same measures with Manchester United that he employed with Holland.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in the Liverpool game.  Louis has abandoned his philosophy.  But will it work?  United are a club that favors playing attractive football, just like Ajax, Barca and Bayern.”

While some are suggesting that van Gaal is utilizing a boring style of play, the 63-year-old manager has claimed that he is forced into the formation due to the lack of quality in certain areas currently in his squad.  Van Gaal recently said, “Right now we have five number 9’s and four number 10’s and we don’t have wingers to play attacking width.  Not wingers of the highest level, of Ronaldo or Di Maria.  So I have to play another way and you have seen that in America.”  Whether van Gaal will stick with his 3-5-2 formation, even if new recruits are implemented into the side, remains to be seen.

Manchester United is a club both rich in history and usually known for playing extremely attractive soccer.  Under Sir Alex Ferguson (whom retired following the 2012-13 season), United were at, or near the top of the goals scored chart nearly every season, and won 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles.

Although van Gaal’s system may be boring to watch for the Old Trafford faithful, the Manchester United fans will ultimately decide whether or not to embrace the manager’s unusual tactics on how successful the club is.  If van Gaal turns the Reds back into title contenders, the fans will not care how “boring” their beloved team plays.  United ended their 2014 preseason schedule with a 2-1 victory over Valencia on Tuesday, as Marouane Fellaini netted a winner in the 91st minute at Old Trafford.

7 thoughts on “Manchester United Fans Will Need to Prepare For a Season of Tedious Tactics Under Louis Van Gaal”

  1. Here is what i dont understand: A couple of seasons ago Mancini experimented with a back 3 at City during the preseason, and it (just like LVG’s United this year) was more or less successful. However the media slated him to no end and the few times he used it early in the season he was ripped even more (in all fairness it didnt always work, so the criticism during the season was legitimate). This preseason, after the same thing, the media cant get enough of LVG and his “tactical genius”. Its a bit nauseating but i guess i ought to be used to the double standard.

  2. Correction: Mancini was far from successful when he tried that formation. His own players criticized the formation openly citing their unfamiliarity with it and being forced into unfamiliar positions.

    The only reason Van Gaal is being given the benefit of the doubt is not because of any double standard. It’s because he’s been successful with it at the very highest level, so it stands to reason he could do the same in the EPL.

    1. Read my post again: it was successful in preseason, NOT in the Prem.

      And the only player who complained about it was Richards, who is most likely the least tactically adept player in the squad.

      And this is no benefit of the doubt. Its a full out love-in being directed at Van Gaal. And if you think there is no double standard in the media you dont pay much attention.

      1. So I guess United control the media and everyone is biased towards United because United control Sky sports, ESPN, Fox, BT Sport, BEin Sport etc?
        Mancini didn’t place 3rd in the world cup using a back 3 to much success. He’s displayed that he can win with the formation and Van Gaal is simply a better coach than Roberto. Unlike Roberto he’s actually won the Champions League and his teams actually make it out of the group stage of the UCL. He’s won the title in Holland, Spain, and Germany. Mancini’s CV pales in comparison. He’s won the league in England and Italy and both times he had the best team.
        He won in England due to big financial backing and he won in a declining Serie A. He’s never been to the Champions league Semi Finals and it says something how Mourinho won the Champions league with that Inter Side while Mancini routinely failed.
        He doesn’t have the respect in the game like Van Gaal does. In press conferences Mancini let them get to him when things went sour and didn’t seem assured of himself. He doesn’t exude confidence and as a manager when you do that and you don’t have an impeccable CV then your not going to last very long in a job.
        What I’m trying to say is he isn’t as good as Van Gaal and his failures on the biggest stage which is the Champions League and even the Europa league left him open to criticism. You have to succeed or at least put up a fight on the Continental Stage to be given a level of respect that he hasn’t been given and deservedly so.
        With City he had the best side and failed to win in 2012-2013 by 8 points off the top of my head and the title he won in 2012 was on GD.
        He’s a good coach but his reputation is nowhere near that of Van Gaals and add the failure to even be a challenger in Europe he was like a lamb being led to slaughter He never had any prior success with the formation to indicate otherwise.

  3. It will be interesting to see how his boring football goes down at OT. Be somewhat hypocritical if they praise him for it.

  4. Imagine that?! A manager using/deploying tactics that best suit the players he has at the moment. WHAT A CREEP THIS LVG GUY IS!!!

    1. Exactly!

      1. Why is a 3-5-2 considered inherently boring? A 3-5-2 against a 4-5-1 leads to chaos in the midfield. Very exciting.

      2. It is pre-season. Out of game shape players being subbed in and out, and non-starters seeing significant game time. Again, why does this automatically equal a boring season?

      3. Considering MU’s lack of available top level defenders, why would Van Gaal opt for a cautious game relying on defense?

      I don’t expect MU to be great this season (unless they make several more signings) but the boring tag is way premature.

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