While many are now questioning the suitability of Manchester United head coach Louis van Gaal, in light of the draw at home to PSV which leaves their Champions League dream hanging by a thread, we think that what he has done at the club is, arguably, ingenious.
Unprecedented Levels of Investment
Because he has somehow managed to spend £230m (give or take) without the team looking any better for it.
In many ways, Manchester United are worse now than they were a year ago – at least then they could call on stars like Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria to change a game in an instant.
And it would be tough to argue that this current Manchester United squad is better than the one that Sir Alex Ferguson left behind.
Close to Success?
The boss himself may feel that the team is close to something special. That they should have won this game or that. That Jesse Lingard should have scored his gilt-edged chance and that would have made all the difference.
But that would simply mask the patent deficiencies in this system.
This Manchester United doesn’t create chances like it use to. The odd miss is fine if you make another 15 or so chances in a game. But it’s this paucity of creativity that is the root of the problem.
Historically, Manchester United are known as a team that goes for the jugular. They are known for their lack of caution and for their swashbuckling, attacking philosophy. They are known to win brilliantly and even lose brilliantly. And, at the heart of it all, they are known for their entertaining brand of football.
After 18 months of Louis van Gaal Manchester United have none of these attributes. Some might argue that they aren’t even close to having any of them.
It’s all well and good changing a club formula, which has been successful for decades, if the new style works in a given league.
Louis van Gaal – good manager but bad fit for United?
Increasingly, it seems as if Louis van Gaal’s formula isn’t suited to The Premier League.
But those hoping for big changes may have to be patient – Louis van Gaal may be too self-assured and stubborn to admit he has got it wrong and adapt to a different football environment.
We think that Louis van Gaal’s biggest fan is Louis van Gaal. He seems to retain an unwavering belief in his methods and that his tactics can be applied to any league with great results.
He’s a real character and a popular figure at Old Trafford. But instead of rueing the few missed chances that his team makes in a game, he needs to realise that his formula isn’t generating enough creativity or enough chances. Adaptability is surely an important element in the armoury of the very best managers.
Louis is not getting the best out of his players. The system is not working and Manchester United are in danger of going out of The Champions League as a consequence.
The evolution has, for now it seems, come to a standstill and it will be fascinating to see how this celebrated manager reacts.
We feel that either Louis will have to change his approach or the Manchester United board will have to change their manager.