Whilst Manchester United are nowhere near back to the standard of Fergie’s men, there are glimpses of a team who have been transformed under Louis van Gaal.
The transition period was never going to be an easy one and David Moyes came under fire quickly as things took a turn for the worse. The one thing that seems to sum up van Gaal’s revolution is the transformation of two of Moyes signings. Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, despite being superb footballers for their previous clubs, couldn’t find form under Moyes but they have now become key players in United’s line up.
In a pre-season friendly, Fellaini was actually jeered off the pitch and he was seen as key as to why Moyes failed at the club. Fans hadn’t taken to him at all and wanted rid. Fast forward eight months and every Red Devils fan in Old Trafford gave him the ovation he deserved.
Juan Mata spent the first few months being ignored by his new manager but now he has proved to both van Gaal and the fans that he was well worth signing. United knew they had inherited a good player but he just couldn’t find his feet to start with.
The problem was all down to positioning. Whilst van Gaal’s predecessor had bought the right players he hadn’t planned where they were going to play. Moyes played 27-year-old Fellaini in an attacking role when they were at Everton together but completely changed him position at Old Trafford playing him as a defensive midfielder. No matter how great you are as a footballer it will still take you time to adjust to your position.
Under his new boss Fellaini has developed into a more effective No. 10 than Mata, Wayne Rooney or Angel Di Maria. Playing off Rooney has allowed a great new partnership to develop which was seen in action against local rivals Manchester City.
Mata has also had his positioning changed. With Fellaini doing so well in the No 10 the 26-year-old has being playing to the side of him in a 4-3-3 formation with Ashley Young. He has seen a goalscoring revival of late and is now looking forward to returning to Stamford Bridge where he was twice voted the Player of the Year. While on first viewing it seemed the Blues boss had made the right decision in selling Mata, the midfielder is now looking forward to showing him what he is still capable of.
When the gaffer took over at Old Trafford he promised to improve the players he had inherited and it looks like he has stuck to that. The Dutchman is known for his superb coaching skills and many didn’t believe he could train some of the players who had played under Moyes so badly and make them as good as they have become. It took a while to get right and the van Gaal revolution has been by no means perfect but slowly the team are starting to improve.
Manchester United are on their way back, next season will certainly be an interesting one.