Louis van Gaal's tactics

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NL Max

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This is my first thread here, I've been reading the Cafe for quite some time now and I've noticed alot of people still don't know how van Gaal likes to play the game. I'm not an expert by any means, but I do know some things van Gaal always has in his teams. Louis van Gaal is a teacher and as a Dutchy who knows him I see that he has pretty much tried to explain everything he did at Manchester United so far. He isn't fluent in English though so many don't get this, I hope I can explain this a bit better. Excuse the language, I'm Dutch aswell and might make some mistakes. I'll happily edit any errors.

There will be no TL;DR because van Gaal's ways are difficult. Please don't turn this into a thread about what you think of him, as there are enough threads to discuss that. I'd like to keep this thread purely about the tactical side and his team selections. You might disagree with his vision, but he's NOT changing so I'm just stating the facts. If you're not interested in reading all of this, please go and read another thread.

First of all: his philosophy isn't his playstyle. It's much more than this. It's essentially how he does his job: how he treats the players and staff, how he trains, which orders he gives to players and what his gameplan is. Louis van Gaal isn't fluent in English so 'philosophy' just about covers everything which he can't explain fully (he doesn't give out all his secrets either).

Louis van Gaal is a strong character. Players have to do what he says or you're not getting a spot in the team. If you're not pleasing him, he can be a nasty man. We've seen this with many players in the past, they collide with his personality or just can't get to grips with the way he wants to play the game no matter how hard they try. If you give everything and try to do as he says though he really is a nice man. He shows respect, always defends his players in front of the media and will never speak badly of a player in public. He's a real gentleman, he rather speaks about the team and not the individual. This might be annoying for us fans, but I'm sure the players appreciate it as they aren't getting burned after bad performances.

Rules:
His formations don't really matter too much as he generally plays the same and he still follows his own set rules. Some of his rules which his teams MUST have (he will not play without this, unless he has no choice because of injury):

-Left/right foot combinations. With the exception of inverted wingers(or wingsbacks), you're not getting a spot on the left side if you're not extremely good with your left. Ditto for the right side.
-4 defensive minded players. He categorizes his players (I'll come back to this) and doesn't play without 4 of these.
-3/4 creative players. These are the only players who can take risks in the team and lose the ball, the rest has to follow orders and keep possesion. These usually are the wingers, number 10 and the striker.
-In a midfield 3 he wants: a CDM, a box-to-box midfielder who's good defensively and a creative midfielder as his number 10.

Team selections:
He NEEDS 4 defensive minded players, this is the balance he keeps mentioning. We lack this. He bought players for a 352 but changed formation because it wasn't working and this left him in a spot of bother. With 352 he had 3 centrebacks+1 CDM, which is enough to please him.
With 4231 (his preferred 433) we got 2 centrebacks + Blind or Carrick. This isn't enough. He needs another midfielder, a box-to-box midfielder, who can bring him defensive balance. He tried Rooney, Fellaini, Mata and now Herrera but he isn't happy about them for this role. He will strenghten there in the mould of Strootman. The reason Fellaini is still playing is because Herrera is a creative player playing in his box-to-box role. We will never see Blind-Mata-Herrera as this would mean he doesn't have 4 defensive minded players. Having a defensive minded player at 10 isn't what he wants though so we won't see this next season.
This is why he doesn't fancy a 442 with wingers. He'd have 2 defensive midfielders, 2 wingers and 2 strikers and lack the most important player for him: his creative number 10.
The reason why he has fiddled around so much with players/formations is because he lacks the players for his own set rules, this won't be solved without transfers.

How he generally plays:
Apart from his creative players, Louis van Gaal plays every single position. He tells each player what they can and can't do. They must know these tasks from each and every teammate on the pitch aswell. Each player got their own do's and do not's which are based on their strenghts and position in the starting 11. Rooney/Blackett can give a long ball, Mata can give trough balls and Di Maria can do whatever he wants. They need to perform these instructions to perfection or they're getting dropped.

In a perfect van Gaal match everything is about the number 10. The team plays in service of getting the number 10 in an ideal position to set up a goal for one of his teammates. He wants to achieve this by keeping the ball (frustrating & tiring the opposition) and dragging the opponent around to find space. If this space isn't found then they shouldn't panic but stick to the plan and recycle possesion. Only when van Gaal sees it isn't working he switches to his plan B (which he always has). In our case that is Fellaini and a more direct style of play.

He analyses the opponent in extreme detail and comes up with a specific plan for each and every match. It doesn't matter if it's Cambridge, Swansea or Chelsea. We will set up in a way to counter their strenghts and exploit their weakness: we will adapt to all opponents whilst playing his possesion based style.

Fullbacks/defensive midfielders for example can't dribble because of the risk of losing the ball. Passing to one of them who is marked is pointless because they've got the instruction to pass it back. The players must analyse the situation: the player who can't beat a man is marked, the winger who can make an action is there, the creative midfielder is standing in a position where he can't lose the ball so I can't pass it to him, the weak spot we're targetting is there etcetera etcetera are all things a player needs to think about in a split second when he's got the ball. The whole team is thinking of attacking when a non-creative player is on the ball because of the gameplan, they aren't prepared to defend. The team is also set to attack when a creative player has the ball in a dangerous position where they can't lose the ball (close to de Gea). When a creative player has the ball in a position where they can take risks though, the team is ready to defend and it doesn't matter if say Di Maria loses the ball. That's why he doesn't like Herrera as a CDM/BTB, he has too much risks in his game. If he loses the ball when he's not 'creative' this disturbs all instructions given to the other players because they're all in the wrong places and we're extremely vulnerable to the counter.

This is why van Gaal always struggles at first because most players aren't used to his ways and some will never learn this. It's always a project for the long term though, so we won't see results immediately. It's a very hard learning curve to play how van Gaal wants as he's extremely demanding. Limitted players like Fellaini (no offense) who only got only a few strenghts blossom under him because they don't get tasks which they can't perform. They don't need to think and only do as they've been told.

Like I mentioned each and every player has a specific task for their position in the gameplan, which changes each game. That's why he sometimes decides to drop a player because he thinks he needs somebody else in his place with a different strenght for a specific match.

All 11 players doing exactly what he wants in every single situation is hard to learn, but if it's performed well it's a great style of playing the game. It's attractive, attacking football which the fans will enjoy. It's nothing like Fergie's style though so people will have to get used to it, we're not seeing the way van Gaal would like us to play though so don't worry just yet. This year is all about top 4 and laying the foundations for next year.
 
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NL Max

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EDITED:
Thanks for all the positive reactions so far, I enjoyed reading other people their knowledge about van Gaal. I wasn't really sure yet where to take this thread when I wrote the original post as it's a bit of a weird one.

I think it would be interesting to see what people think he will do in the future. Not what you would like to see, but what you think Louis van Gaal is going to do when you take his rules and past into consideration. If you want to talk about the longterm we'll assume he's still going to be coach next year, you can include CL football but don't have to.

You can also discuss team selections for the next match or why he chose a certain formation/starting 11 after a game.

EDIT 2
I just posted this in another thread, this is what I think he will do in the summer transfer window:

I've had a good think about this and I assume he wants to play 4231 next season, his preferred 433.

For this system we currently lack (including depth):
-2 Box-to-box midfielders
-Rightback
-Left winger (assuming Di Maria/Januzaj compete for the right)
-Right centreback
-Depth for LCB/LB

Memphis Depay is a no brainer for me, I've pretty much seen all his matches since they've been broadcasted including his youth matches. He's a perfect fit imo.

Rightback is probably Clyne/Danilo. Not sure what his plans are with McNair and Valencia but Rafael probably is leaving.

Box-to-box players are a hard to find commodity and I think he wanted Strootman after this season. His new setback (removing scar tissue from the first operation which succeeded) means he's back only just before preseason. Not sure if we'll go for him, but we sure as hell are going for someone like him. We won't buy 2 of these type of players since they're expensive. The 2nd midfielder will probably be a player who can cover for CDM and BTB.

A good right centreback to replace one of Jones/Smalling. Marquinhos/Hummels, or someone who's good in ball possesion.

Maybe Evans will be replaced with another multifunctional LCB/LB to cover for Rojo and Shaw, probably won't be a first team player. Depends on Blackett.

So for the positions:
GK: De Gea, Valdes
RB: Clyne, Valencia, McNair
RCB: Hummels, Smalling, McNair
LCB: Rojo, new backup1, Blackett
LB: Shaw, new backup1, Rojo, Blind
CDM: Blind, Carrick, new backup2
BTB: a Strootman type, new backup2
CAM: Herrera, Fellaini, Rooney
LW: Memphis, Young, Lingard
RW: Di Maria, Januzaj, Valencia
ST: Rooney, RvP, Wilson

Leaving:
Hernandez, Falcao, Cleverly, Lindegaard, Nani, Jones, Evans, Rafael, Mata
 
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Stack

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Rules:
His formations don't really matter too much as he generally plays the same and he still follows his own set rules. Some of his rules which his teams MUST have (he WILL NOT play without this, unless he has no choice):
-Left/right foot combinations. Unless you're a inverted winger, you're not getting a spot on the left side if you're not extremely good with your left.
-4 defensive minded players. He categorizes his players (I'll come back to this) and doesn't play without 4 of these.
-3/4 creative players. These are the ONLY players who can take risks in the team and lose the ball, the rest has to follow orders and keep possesion. These usually are the wingers, number 10 and the striker.
-In a midfield 3 he wants: a CDM, a box-to-box midfielder who's good defensively and a creative midfielder as his number 10.
Ashley Young is awful with his left. He spends most of his time trying to cut back on to his right. With respect to his left foot crosses the vast majority never find a player.
He sometimes plays DiMaria on the right and he is a very left footed player, so much so that he will use the outside of his left foot instead of his right foot. DiMaria virtually never tries to cross with his right foot.
I do wonder why he simply doesnt swap them over....
 

SirAF

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Very good post, mate. It was an interesting read.

I got plenty of time for van Gaal's tactics and style - I've been wanting us to convert into a more possession based team for a long time, so I'm very excited about the next couple of years.
 

NL Max

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Ashley Young is awful with his left. He spends most of his time trying to cut back on to his right. With respect to his left foot crosses the vast majority never find a player.
He sometimes plays DiMaria on the right and he is a very left footed player, so much so that he will use the outside of his left foot instead of his right foot. DiMaria virtually never tries to cross with his right foot.
I do wonder why he simply doesnt swap them over....
Ashley Young has played a wingback and winger, but I don't remember him playing leftback when one of Blind/Rojo/Shaw was available. Like I mentioned 'unless you're an inverted winger' you're not getting that spot. Wingers can use their strong foot to cut inside and make space for the overlapping fullback.

We've got a unbalanced selection though so he has had to play some players on the wrong side out of neccesity.
 

beardsleybob

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Just seems like one giant house of cards to me. So much emphasis on his specific rules, wheres the cutting edge?
 

NL Max

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Just seems like one giant house of cards to me. So much emphasis on his specific rules, wheres the cutting edge?
His style of play has always been high risk/high reward. If it isn't performed to perfection it's suicide but he's always thinking of the long term. He knows where he wants to take us in the future and if we reach that stage where every player is comfortable with his ways we'll be a b*tch to play against. We're in transition.

At the moment it may look like shambles, but everything we've seen this season had a reason behind it. I do think he seriously underestimated the job and overestimated our team after a great preseason. I'm not saying that we're at the point he likes us to be, but there is progression being made. It's very slow at the moment and I think he needs some more transfers to fulfill his wishes of what he wants in a team. What I wrote is what he ultimately wants us to be. It has always clicked with his teams in the past so I personally think he'll do it again at Manchester United if given time.
 

Super Nani

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Thanks for posting that, very interesting to read and makes perfect sense. It's obvious that our style of play will improve when we have the players required by him to fulfil these desired roles but I'm really not sure who he has in mind for that box to box role with Strootmans injuries but I hope whoever it is we get them in the summer. I guess it will also heavily depend on if we make top four and have the lure of Champions League football.

I think we should just pay what it takes to get Pogba back here but I would be a bit concerned he could clash with van Gaal if he doesn't take to his methods and play pretty much every game like he does now at Juventus. Hopefully our players are mature enough to take in his teachings and not fall out with him so we start improving and get an acceptable amount of silverwear in his time here.
 

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Ashley Young is awful with his left. He spends most of his time trying to cut back on to his right. With respect to his left foot crosses the vast majority never find a player.
He sometimes plays DiMaria on the right and he is a very left footed player, so much so that he will use the outside of his left foot instead of his right foot. DiMaria virtually never tries to cross with his right foot.
I do wonder why he simply doesnt swap them over....
That's probably to encourage the fullbacks to overlap and put in conventional crosses.

@NL Max , you say that the #10 is his most important player. What does he look for as an ideal player in that position? Asking this cuz even though Mata isn't getting games currently, I think LvG really rates him high and could well be the designated #10 in his eventual team.
 

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His style of play has always been high risk/high reward. If it isn't performed to perfection it's suicide but he's always thinking of the long term. He knows where he wants to take us in the future and if we reach that stage where every player is comfortable with his ways we'll be a b*tch to play against. We're in transition.

At the moment it may look like shambles, but everything we've seen this season had a reason behind it. I do think he seriously underestimated the job and overestimated our team after a great preseason. I'm not saying that we're at the point he likes us to be, but there is progression being made. It's very slow at the moment and I think he needs some more transfers to fulfill his wishes of what he wants in a team. What I wrote is what he ultimately wants us to be. It has always clicked with his teams in the past so I personally think he'll do it again at Manchester United if given time.
I've only seen the opposite. Besides tactical formation (if you consider 3-5-2 a risk) he's doing the opposite.

You explained him well. I don't want to sound arrogant but you're not telling me much new. It shouldn't sound arrogant because like you said in the beginning, LvG has explained himself. My problem with him are his explanations. He doesn't do everything he says.
One thing I hadn't heard from him, which you explained, is the 4 defensive players. Why he doesn't for example play Blind-Mata-Herrera. I find that a very limited perception. Not what I would like from a manager.

You say it has always clicked in the past. Well, his track record seems be be: 1. Build team up in a frustrating way. 2. Win something. 3. Have it blow up because of the way he is after a short tenure.

What I expect to happen. He will finish top 4. He'll do alright in the CL. He'll challenge for the PL. Maybe win some cups. Leave after 3 years at the helm for some reason. Probably retire. I don't see the football in that time being entertaining because it seems to me that the entertaining part from his managing is not due to the way he plays but because of individuals in his team. We know that the player pool we have now can be entertaining but it's so far from that and a part of that is his refusal to play them together.

It's a great post. Unfortunately I think that those people that need to read it the most are the ones that won't. Good to have a summary. You seem pretty much spot on with it.
 

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Great read mate.

We've had plenty of time to get the type of player he's missing in midfield, instead he approved buying herrera, a player he believes similar to mata, and falcao, a star striker that expects to start when we already had van persie and rooney, and di maria, a player that we still don't have a clear idea what's his best position is, and we wanted to offload felliani, a player that he seems to trust and count on now, but an ankle injury kept him here.

It seems to me that van gaal didn't pay enough attention to what he wanted in the summer, his signings were based on availability more than careful planning. Tactical flexibility is good and all, but you shouldn't start a season without having a clear vision of what system you want to play and what players needed to make it work.
 

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Ashley Young has played a wingback and winger, but I don't remember him playing leftback when one of Blind/Rojo/Shaw was available. Like I mentioned 'unless you're an inverted winger' you're not getting that spot. Wingers can use their strong foot to cut inside and make space for the overlapping fullback.

We've got a unbalanced selection though so he has had to play some players on the wrong side out of neccesity.
Well I think Luke Shaw or even Rojo could do the left back job and DiMaria or Adnan ( who can use either foot) could deal with left mid/wing That would enable to Young to move to the right where he may have more chance of actually completing a decent number of crosses successfully.
 

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@NL Max alot of what you have posted I have realised over the time. Thanks for posting, I hope it will allow others to understand what lvg is trying to accomplish. Even if we don't get CL I think we should definitely keep hold of Van gaal and see this transition through.
 

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I've only seen the opposite. Besides tactical formation (if you consider 3-5-2 a risk) he's doing the opposite.
I think what he meant by high risk high reward isn't taking being more aggressive and offensive. The risk is that one or two non compliant players ruin the system and the reward is when everyone is in sync, it's good football.

Great read mate.

We've had plenty of time to get the type of player he's missing in midfield, instead he approved buying herrera, a player he believes similar to mata, and falcao, a star striker that expects to start when we already had van persie and rooney, and di maria, a player that we still don't have a clear idea what's his best position is, and we wanted to offload felliani, a player that he seems to trust and count on now, but an ankle injury kept him here.

It seems to me that van gaal didn't pay enough attention to what he wanted in the summer, his signings were based on availability more than careful planning. Tactical flexibility is good and all, but you shouldn't start a season without having a clear vision of what system you want to play and what players needed to make it work.
Yeah my criticism is similar, he wasn't proactive in fixing the squad holes in the summer. But like the OP said, that's thanks to the effective preseason performances, which meant 352 being the preferred formation.
 

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I think what he meant by high risk high reward isn't taking being more aggressive and offensive. The risk is that one or two non compliant players ruin the system and the reward is when everyone is in sync, it's good football.
That doesn't sound risky to me. What I meant as him being the opposite of risky is for example how he has substituted players and how he hasn't gone for broke in the dying minutes to win the game like SAF did. You know, high risk/high reward.

The players haven't been in sync, the football hasn't been good. It's been 7 months. Is he hoping it clicks by the end of April?
 

NL Max

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That's probably to encourage the fullbacks to overlap and put in conventional crosses.

@NL Max , you say that the #10 is his most important player. What does he look for as an ideal player in that position? Asking this cuz even though Mata isn't getting games currently, I think LvG really rates him high and could well be the designated #10 in his eventual team.
This is a bit of of a 'tuffy for me, Mata seems the perfect candidate for his idea of a #10. In his ideal game only the #10 gets assists or gives the pre-assist with the winger/fullback getting the assist. We won't really know untill the season is over and he's done his transfer business, but I think he's staying and will be important next season.

At the moment I think it's not Mata's ability that is the problem: but the 4 defensive minded players. We only got 2 defensive midfielders (with 1 being injured for most of the season) and no player who fits into his idea of a defensive minded box-to-box player with Rooney, Fellaini and Herrera not fitting that profile. Mata isn't good defensively so he'd be liability right now as he needs results. I think he'll be great next season.

@Snow
I know that everything I've written is knowledge which is available, but I seen alot of people here who don't know this. I just tried to get this into one thread for the people who don't know it yet. His rules indeed may be strange and cruelly limitting himself, but this is how he likes to play and I'm sure he has more reasons to follow them which I don't know of. This isn't about agreeing/disagreeing, it's about the facts. He likes to play this way so I wrote it down.

@Someone
He had only the preseason tour to base his opinions on. We were great in the 352 and to buy players suited for this was much easier than to buy players for 433, he couldn't overhaul the whole squad in 1 window. So I do think he made a mistake there which is now limitting him. He's been doing OK despite all this though so I trust the man.

I really think he want(ed) Strootman. He's perfect (I've seen every PSV match of him and most of Roma's aswell) for this role and was on his way to be ready for next season. We might still get him too. The 2nd operation he's had was just to remove some scar tissue from the 1st operation which succeeded. This should help him for the future and his carreer isn't over at all.

I'm not saying Louis van Gaal is perfect, he's not. But I believe he's the right man to overhaul Manchester United after a long time of Fergie and the disastrous' season we've had under Moyes. We might indeed not be great under him, but he'll lay the foundations for the next manager to be a succes. If we want Pep Guardiola for example Louis van Gaal can lay the perfect foundations for him. He's brought in players who have yet to hit their peak.
 
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Hostekule

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That doesn't sound risky to me. What I meant as him being the opposite of risky is for example how he has substituted players and how he hasn't gone for broke in the dying minutes to win the game like SAF did. You know, high risk/high reward.

The players haven't been in sync, the football hasn't been good. It's been 7 months. Is he hoping it clicks by the end of April?
I'm convinced that some of our defeats earlier in the season (Mk dons, Leicester) stunned him. I don't think he saw it coming, and as a man of pride it struck him hard. Therefore he is very anxious to take risks, and at the moment I feel he too often would rather not lose than gamble for a win, as you mention. I'm very curious to see how his approach will be going in to many crucial matches now. If I'm right, and he doesn't change this attitude, I'm convinced we wont get top 4 this season.

Great post Op, btw.
 

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That's probably to encourage the fullbacks to overlap and put in conventional crosses.

@NL Max , you say that the #10 is his most important player. What does he look for as an ideal player in that position? Asking this cuz even though Mata isn't getting games currently, I think LvG really rates him high and could well be the designated #10 in his eventual team.
I'm not sure he's a fan of Mata - not exactly multi functional. He would also need heavyweight midfielders beside him to allow freedom.

I'd expect Mata to be gone come the summer.
 

Hostekule

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Why can't he play to the squads strength when it's so obvious it's not working his way. At least until he has players to play to his philosophy?
Isn't that sort of what he is trying to do, while still maintaining his philosophy, making our players confused and frustrated?
 

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Why can't he play to the squads strength when it's so obvious it's not working his way. At least until he has players to play to his philosophy?
Not saying you're wrong but if we wanted a manager to do that then we should never have gone for LVG. He was always going to do it his way regardless.
 

SirAF

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This is a bit of of a 'tuffy for me, Mata seems the perfect candidate for his idea of a #10. In his ideal game only the #10 gets assists or gives the pre-assist with the winger/fullback getting the assist. We won't really know untill the season is over and he's done his transfer business, but I think he's staying and will be important next season.

At the moment I think it's not Mata's ability that is the problem: but the 4 defensive minded players. We only got 2 defensive midfielders (with 1 being injured for most of the season) and no player who fits into his idea of a defensive minded box-to-box player with Rooney, Fellaini and Herrera not fitting that profile. Mata isn't good defensively so he'd be liability right now as he needs results. I think he'll be great next season.

@Snow
I know that everything I've written is knowledge which is available, but I seen alot of people here who don't know this. I just tried to get this into one thread for the people who don't know it yet. His rules indeed may be strange and cruelly limitting himself, but this is how he likes to play and I'm sure he has more reasons to follow them which I don't know of. This isn't about agreeing/disagreeing, it's about the facts. He likes to play this way so I wrote it down.

@Someone
He had only the preseason tour to base his opinions on. We were great in the 352 and to buy players suited for this was much easier than to buy players for 433, he couldn't overhaul the whole squad in 1 window. So I do think he made a mistake there which is now limitting him. He's been doing OK despite all this though so I trust the man.

I really think he want(ed) Strootman. He's perfect (I've seen every PSV match of him and most of Roma's aswell) for this role and was on his way to be ready for next season. We might still get him too. The 2nd operation he's had was just to remove some scar tissue from the 1st operation which succeeded. This should help him for the future and his carreer isn't over at all.

I'm not saying Louis van Gaal is perfect, he's not. But I believe he's the perfect man to overhaul Manchester United after a long time of Fergie and the disastrous' season we've had under Moyes. We might indeed not be great under him, but he'll lay the foundations for the next manager to be a success. If we want Pep Guardiola for example Louis van Gaal can lay the perfect foundations for him. He's brought in players who have yet to hit their peak.
Definitely agree with this. However the next manager must be of the same (ish) school of football or else I guess everything which is happening now is just for nothing? Pep would be perfect after he's getting tired of winning everything at Bayern though ;)
 

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That's probably to encourage the fullbacks to overlap and put in conventional crosses.

@NL Max , you say that the #10 is his most important player. What does he look for as an ideal player in that position? Asking this cuz even though Mata isn't getting games currently, I think LvG really rates him high and could well be the designated #10 in his eventual team.
Disappointingly for a lot of people it seems a formation with Herrera and Mata in the same side would be very difficult. He's chosen Fellaini to play alongside Herrera and Blind because of the defensive balance he offers.

If he gets the players he wants in the summer, I do think there's a good chance we will surprise a few people and move Fellaini on.
 

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Why can't he play to the squads strength when it's so obvious it's not working his way. At least until he has players to play to his philosophy?
Itll be a quicker adjustment period next season if everyone is already up to speed.
 

RedFish

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Thanks for the post @NL Max. I'm confident Lvg knows exactly what he wants to achieve with the team, and I always maintained that until the summer transfer window is over, he will not be able to achieve his aims. However, I do think he could/should have been able to address the balance of the side better in many of the games we have played this season. The micro-management is fine, but half a season in, and he has not managed to set up the team in such a way to make us more solid in the key areas (the backbone of the team). I'd prefer the attacking players to have more freedom to play instinctively too. The way we seem to 'think' (slowly) our way into the opposition's box is making us too easy to defend against. Still confident he will get the job done, but I really can't wait until next season. It seems like we've been in transition for ages....
 

RedFish

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Great read mate.

We've had plenty of time to get the type of player he's missing in midfield, instead he approved buying herrera, a player he believes similar to mata, and falcao, a star striker that expects to start when we already had van persie and rooney, and di maria, a player that we still don't have a clear idea what's his best position is, and we wanted to offload felliani, a player that he seems to trust and count on now, but an ankle injury kept him here.

It seems to me that van gaal didn't pay enough attention to what he wanted in the summer, his signings were based on availability more than careful planning. Tactical flexibility is good and all, but you shouldn't start a season without having a clear vision of what system you want to play and what players needed to make it work.
It does seem that way, although I'm not sure the targets would have been available though (Strootman, for one was injured at the time of course). Well, anyway he certainly knows where we need improving now. You don't need to have any system in mind to know what we lack.
 

RedFish

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This is a bit of of a 'tuffy for me, Mata seems the perfect candidate for his idea of a #10. In his ideal game only the #10 gets assists or gives the pre-assist with the winger/fullback getting the assist. We won't really know untill the season is over and he's done his transfer business, but I think he's staying and will be important next season.
Not exactly 'totaalvoetbal', ironically. I can see how certain players may not 'thrive' until his tutelage. Footballer's aren't robots. The pass that nobody saw, that reverse pass etc can be done by anyone. Ok. so you wouldn't encourage Fellaini to to no-look, reverse passes with his weaker foot, but I'd like the attacking players to play with a certain freedom,.....I do understand, that as rigid as his system may be, that there has to be some flex. I guess we have to hope that the players can play the instructed way more fluently with time.



[
 

Sultan

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I somehow believe he will be here next season even if we don't make top 4. If also believe Mata has a massive role to play next season as our #10.
I'm also sure he's going to be here next season. Woody and the club won't have the will to give him the sack so soon after Moyes. Had LvG followed Sir Alex he would have walked. LvG's end will come with him walking than being pushed.
 

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I'm also sure he's going to be here next season. Woody and the club won't have the will to give him the sack so soon after Moyes. Had LvG followed Sir Alex he would have walked. LvG's end will come with him walking than being pushed.
I think he'll stay for 3 seasons and we'll be competitive with him. Hopefully we bring Pep in after he's gone and don't try silly experiments.
 

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Not exactly 'totaalvoetbal', ironically. I can see how certain players may not 'thrive' until his tutelage. Footballer's aren't robots. The pass that nobody saw, that reverse pass etc can be done by anyone. Ok. so you wouldn't encourage Fellaini to to no-look, reverse passes with his weaker foot, but I'd like the attacking players to play with a certain freedom,.....I do understand, that as rigid as his system may be, that there has to be some flex. I guess we have to hope that the players can play the instructed way more fluently with time.



[
Its an interesting point. I read somewhere LVG talking about wanting players to be able to "show their qualities" which I took for being able to express themselves.
 

Sultan

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With the greatest respect footballers are not always the most intelligent people. Rather than filling their minds with directives they cannot fulfill give them the freedom to express themselves, enjoy the game.

Overcoaching can become a problem in sports.
 

sullydnl

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Not exactly 'totaalvoetbal', ironically. I can see how certain players may not 'thrive' until his tutelage. Footballer's aren't robots. The pass that nobody saw, that reverse pass etc can be done by anyone. Ok. so you wouldn't encourage Fellaini to to no-look, reverse passes with his weaker foot, but I'd like the attacking players to play with a certain freedom,.....I do understand, that as rigid as his system may be, that there has to be some flex. I guess we have to hope that the players can play the instructed way more fluently with time.[
Aye, I'd imagine a lot of footballers (even extremely good ones) wouldn't be able to play that way. Some seem to be more reliant on their instincts than others and would likely find it hard to deconstruct the way they play or the reason they make certain decisions on the pitch.
 

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With the greatest respect footballers are not always the most intelligent people. Rather than filling their minds with directives they cannot fulfill give them the freedom to express themselves, enjoy the game.

Overcoaching can become a problem in sports.
Aye, I'd imagine a lot of footballers (even extremely good ones) wouldn't be able to play that way. Some seem to be more reliant on their instincts than others and would likely find it hard to deconstruct the way they play or the reason they make certain decisions on the pitch.
These are fair points, it does seem incredibly complicated for a game of football. It's Louis van Gaal's way though and I'm sure the club knew exactly what they were bringing in when they assigned him. He's here to revamp Manchester United and bring us back to the glory days which seem like ages ago already. Like I said: it's all for the long term. In the short term we'll struggle, like we've seen. But when it clicks, and I'm confident it will (although it might be after some transfers) it will be good. It will also be much easier for another manager to take over from him than it would've been to take over from Moyes/Fergie imo.

Like I said: some players will never get to grips with his ways. That is no shame, every footballer is human. Klose, an intelligent poacher just couldn't play like van Gaal wanted him to. It does mean you're out of the team and on the transfer list, or get your contract run down. 'If a player doesn't play like I want him to, I'll show him the door'. That's why I don't think we'll see the van Gaal effect fully this year, because he doesn't have the squad to perform to his standards. He's still scraping results though, which is a good trait.

Louis van Gaal always has a plan, he even studies how opponents take their kickoffs/throw ins and gives his players tasks to counter this. This all seems unnecesary, but Blind came out after the world cup and said van Gaal had predicted every match before kickoff and that he had prepared them for everything which was coming. Once he knows the league (which I think he does now) he'll be able to make better predictions/set ups. We've seen he learned from the many mistakes he's made this year and he's not afraid to change things. This year was always going to be difficult, but I think we'll manage.
 

Sultan

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So, do I understand this correctly?

Don't take risks unless you're one of those given a passport. If the 3 players given the license to express themselves have a bad game we're basically going to be watching a non-event? A large number of this season's games come to mind.

Thanks thread opener. This is all very revealing.
 
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