Van Gaal And United Get It Right On The Night

Posted: January 29, 2016 in Manchester United, Opinion, The FA Cup
Tags: , , , , ,


(United’s other scorer, Daley Blind, would have been in this photo but he was out of position!)

Yet another “last game in charge” passes by for Louis van Gaal and he still remains in the Old Trafford hotseat! Mind you, if he doesn’t get sacked after losing games at home he is hardly likely to be removed after a 3-1 win away in the FA Cup.

It is reaching the stage now where nobody knows what he has to do to lose this job. Maybe wear a David Moyes mask, as he managed to lose the job with a better record than the Dutchman! Tonight though, was not going to be the last time the Dutchman was sat in the Manchester United dugout.

Having surrendered places in the Champion’s League, the Capital One Cup and the top four of the Premier League, United, at this precise moment in time, only have the Europa League and FA Cup left to play for. So both take on added importance, particularly as the Europa League winners will be granted entry into the Champion’s League next season. Having said that, the United faithful will take a trophy of any description at present!

Before the game Louis van Gaal had said that he hoped that the players would take their form and confidence from the training ground into the match. The problem with training is that it tends to be concentrated on the next opponents so in this case that would have been Derby County.

What is not generally trained, and it is fairly obvious when watching United, is how to keep possession without giving the ball away. How to trap and control a ball without running it out of play. Time and again the ball was given straight to a Derby player or passed straight out of play.

United started quite brightly considering the recent turmoil that has been surrounding Old Trafford, what with the entertaining press conferences held by the manager and the players supposedly losing confidence in him.

Their superiority was such that the home team’s first corner didn’t arrive until the 35th minute. By this time, United had taken the lead with a sublime finish from Rooney and then thrown it away by not tracking a run from Thorne who scored with ease on County’s first meaningful attack. After they scored Derby took control and United slipped into their now familiar “nervous” mode until the break.

The second half saw Derby start with renewed belief having got the scores level late in the first half. It didn’t last long though.

United wrested control back and took the lead for the second time just after the hour mark when Lingard, who again had contributed nothing all night, crossed for Daley Blind to score at the near post. Sometimes it pays off having three or four players playing out of position, but not often.

Late in the game a nice move saw Mata make it 3-1 with a neat finish from a Martial cut-back.

Derby had nothing left at this stage and must hope that they have enough about themselves to beat Preston on Tuesday which, after all, is a more important game in the grand scheme of things

So the Manchester United fans travelled home happy. It doesn’t take much, just a decent performance and, with a little luck, a win. Beating a Championship team who had lost their previous five games is not necessarily the yardstick by which any Manchester United improvement should be measured, but at least it is a start.

If Louis van Gaal is serious about keeping the United job until the end of his contract he needs to work out very quickly that United need to play attractive, attacking football. Winning is important, but the style of play is equally important and one without the other is OK, but not for long.

The fact that he still doesn’t appear to “get” this and has turned managing Manchester United into a job which now involves philosophies and processes makes me think he will not be there next season, assuming he survives the remainder of this one.


Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.