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Dublin: -1°C Friday 4 December 2020

Van Gaal: I have tinkered too much with Manchester United formation

The former Netherlands coach began life at Old Trafford playing 3-5-2

Van Gaal has alternated between using 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 this season.
Van Gaal has alternated between using 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 this season.
Image: Nick Potts

LOUIS VAN GAAL has admitted that the number of changes he has made to Manchester United’s formation has affected the team’s performance.

After arriving at Old Trafford at the start of the season, the veteran coach has utilised a number of different systems including, 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1.

And he was forced to again tinker with his formation against Crystal Palace as he reverted to 4-1-4-1, with Daley Blind at centre-back and Michael Carrick shielding the back four in his first start of the season.

Despite the Red Devils spending in excess of €180 million in the summer, they have struggled for results in the Premier League, and Van Gaal believes his constant changes have played a major part in their inconsistent showings.

“It’s too much [change to formation] I think, I agree,” he told reporters. “But I’m looking for the balance and when you see the last four matches, we have had more balance because we haven’t conceded many goals.

“Nevertheless, we don’t score so much. With the other system, we scored a lot of goals.”

The most recent change in system has seen Angel Di Maria’s influence wane, with the €75m buy from Real Madrid struggling to have the same impact as when he scored three goals in his first four appearances for the club.

And Van Gaal, who withdrew the Argentine against Crystal Palace, admits his determination to run with the ball upset the balance of the side on Saturday.

“He has played today in a very small space and he is a dribbler but sometimes you cannot dribble. You have to make it a pass game, and Di Maria is not a player who wants to give a pass every time he gets the ball.

“But in this case we needed that and not dribbles. Therefore he lost the ball a lot of times and that was not good for the balance of the team.

“Of course, we need to raise our level. It’s a matter of time but it’s also a matter of getting over a lot of injuries.”

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