Manchester United’s pre-season had gone a lot better than any red devil would’ve imagined, but the shock opening day defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford on Saturday may have given United fans cause for concern
However, new boss Louis Van Gaal has still injected some new-found drive in the Old Trafford players and a number of pre-season outings have given us a glimpse of just how good they’ll be next season, regardless of their somewhat deflated start.
They’ve been impressive under LVG this summer. Just as impressive as TrustFord’s new Signing on Fee offer, which gives you £500 off the purchase of any new Ford car.
David Moyes failed to jump-start a new era at the club last season following a number of poor modifications to the former Premier League champions.
But LVG looks like he’s got things in order after bringing in a bargain or two, particularly Ander Herrera, who impressed this weekend.
And it’s Man United’s engine room that appears to have been fine-tuned the most, with Herrera expected to go along way in justifying his price and signing on fee.
So here’s six ways LVG has fine-tuned Man United’s engine room…
The Spaniard impressed for LVG’s side in pre-season and, although he didn’t shine too much in their opening day defeat to Swansea, he’s still expected to take the Premier League by storm this season.
Last season, Moyes’ style of play was heavily criticised. But Van Gaal has provided a new and exciting philosophy that emphasises the need for articulate midfielders.
Herrera is one of those players tasked with enforcing such a philosophy and he pre-season performances proved that.
Ashley Young was widely expected to be on of the players deemed surplus to requirements by Louis Van Gaal this summer.
But instead he has been transformed in to a worthy option as a wing-back in the new manager’s favourable 3-5-2 formation.
The winger offers much needed pace for LVG and has seen his United career saved by his versatility.
One of David Moyes’ biggest crimes during his United reign was splashing out a club record transfer fee on Chelsea’s Juan Mata only to continuously play him out of position, mostly to accommodate Wayne Rooney as a number 10.
But Van Gaal realises the threat Mata can provide as a central midfielder and has ensured that’s where the Spaniard’s skill set will be utilised.
As a result, United are instantly a more potent side in attack, which they desperately lacked last season.
Rooney’s work rate has always been one of his biggest traits at United, but under Moyes he was regularly forced to play as a number 10 to allow Robin Van Persie to play the the striker’s role.
But the decision to give Rooney the armband and play him as a striker has further improved United’s attacking threat and has allowed their engine to fuel one of the best striker’s in the world in his best position and, potentially, the best form of his career.
Van Gaal has given the likes of Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett the chance to impress in the first team at the off, and they look like they could be part of the boss’ plans this season.
Man United’s history of bringing through class acts from their academy and Van Gaal’s experience could be the key to the aforementioned youngsters going on to be the next best things to come out of Old Trafford’s youth team.
With the help of a group of senior and extremely experienced members of the squad, such youngsters are in the best position to help fire LVG and United back to the successes they once enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Belgium international endured a torrid debut season at Old Trafford last term and he was expected to leave the club this summer.
But he’s enjoyed a spirited revival under Van Gaal this summer and appears to have been given the chance to redeem himself in United’s midfield.
His goal scoring antics at Everton initially earned him a mega-money move to Man United and, despite taking some time to adapt, Van Gaal’s decision to stick with him and offer him an important role in his side could lead to him recapturing the world-class form the Premier League were once used to seeing from him each week at Goodison Park.