Louis van Gaal explains preferred Manchester United system

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes he will stick with a 4-3-3 formation because it gives his side the “triangles” needed to win matches.

Van Gaal has often tinkered with his side’s playing style this season, employing a 3-5-2, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 at various points of the campaign.

United’s best football has come while playing in a 4-3-3, which was employed to devastating use in victories against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in recent weeks.

According to van Gaal, the system allows his team to dominate opponents because his players will always have at least two passing options.

Speaking about his preferred system, van Gaal said: “It’s always dependent on the players involved, but everybody knows the system I prefer is 1-4-3-3 with a No.10 or No.6. A holding midfielder or a No.10 player behind the strikers.

“It’s dependable of the quality of the players, but also of the opponent.

“But I prefer it because that’s the easiest system to dominate the game because it is over the whole pitch triangles and that gives the players always two options at least.

“But I have played with several other systems because of the quality of the players who were available in that moment.”

The difference in United’s play when playing 3-5-2 and 4-3-3 has been huge. With three at the back, the team have looked sluggish but far more solid defensively. With four, United are much more fluid going forward.

The system makes a big difference but van Gaal has also been helped by the good form of his players. The likes of Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have all enjoyed a resurgence in form in recent games and have played a big part in the team’s success.

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