Louis van Gaal hailed Manchester United’s ‘beautiful’ attacking play in his first match in charge which saw United put seven goals past LA Galaxy without reply.
Two goals each from Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and débutante Reece James, plus one long-range effort from Danny Welbeck to open the scoring, helped United cruise to a victory that will do wonders for the squad’s confidence ahead of the new season.
Van Gaal could not have hoped for better start and he was effusive in his praise for both the quality of his team’s play and the calibre of the goals scored.
“It is fantastic how they performed today. Last week, ten players who played tonight were not even in our training complex. But when you see us train, you can expect something but not 7-0,” said the Dutchman.
“The result always matters. With such a result you get confidence, and confidence in a new system. It was a surprise, but they were also beautiful goals.”
Van Gaal, who set United up to play 5-2-3 and made nine changes at half-time, praised United’s forward play but also indicated that he would not be afraid to switch formations if he deems it necessary.
He added: “It was not just the goals, but the beautiful attacks. When you want to change a system, you must start at once. We don’t have time to prepare for other things.
“The other system they can play is 4-3-3 and they have played it for many years. I can change back if the system doesn’t work. With the quality of the players we have, I can play 4-3-3 with three strikers on the bench, but want to play with two strikers.
“I have decided to play this system because of the quality of the players. But if we lose, I can change back to another system.”
Van Gaal also raised a point which might remind United fans of how tentative the players seemed under David Moyes. When asked if United’s players were lacking confidence after finishing seventh last season, he was unequivocal in his response.
“Not a problem. I never go back, I always want to see the future,” he said.
“When I see a team playing a new system, it is better to win 7-0 than to lose because the players will then doubt the system. But I don’t have that problem.”
The players certainly seemed more confident; their passing was sharp, their movement was positive and there was a steely determination to win the ball back high up the pitch. Van Gaal’s influence is already visible after just a few days which definitely bodes well for the start of the season next month.