Sir Alex Ferguson had squeaky bum time. Louis van Gaal has twitchy ass time.
Manchester United’s boss has staunchly defended his use of the 3-5-2 formation and insisted watching Man United play using a 4-4-2 formation gives him a ‘twitchy ass’ on the bench.
There’s no doubt United are more open using a 4-4-2 diamond but up the other end, United create more chances and the Dutchman’s decision not to adopt it more regularly is frustrating fans.
It’s bad news for a lot of fans who hoped the 3-5-2 formation would be binned soon but despite their frustrations and calls for it to be dropped, Van Gaal made it clear he won’t be influenced by what others think.
“I know all the stats,” he said.
“I read the stats. I know that we have won more with 4-4-2 in a diamond.
“But when you analyse the game then we have twitched our ass on the bench.
— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) January 22, 2015
“I said to my players I was squeezing my ass but it was the wrong expression, I have twitched my ass on the bench because we were out of balance.
“We lost the game against Leicester City 5-3. That was undeserved. The referee gave a penalty for nothing. At that time the result was 3-2, no problem. Then you are a great club. But we lost 5-3.
“All the matches when we play 4-4-2, like against West Ham United it was always twitching your ass. I don’t like that.
“We have won nine or 10 in a row then we lose one match and then the discussion about the system is coming. It is ridiculous.
“Now I have answered your question in a very good way.”
A man built on principle and philosophy, you have to commend Van Gaal for his self-belief and complete dismissal of criticism. After all, as he said, United went on a great run for a sustained period of games.
Frustrations from United fans stem from Van Gaal’s decision to use a pragmatic approach rather than attacking but until he is happy with the balance in the squad, Van Gaal may continue to air on the side of caution with a 3-5-2 formation.