Man United are pragmatic, not boring under Louis Van Gaal – opinion

first_img3 Louis van Gaal 3 Teams not winning in the ‘correct’ way is not an uncommon thing in football.‘One-nil to the Arsenal’ was sang around Highbury during the George Graham era of the 1990s, while Jose Mourinho didn’t earn rave reviews for his brand of football when he won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.And now the same thing is being said of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United.Fans and ex-players alike are calling for the Dutchman’s head, saying he has killed the club’s tradition of attacking, free-flowing football established under Sir Alex Ferguson.But the same fans need to adapt to Van Gaal’s style themselves by being a little more pragmatic and realising the days of ‘if you score four then we’ll score five’ are over. 3 This United side is about not losing and is built around a defence which has conceded nine goals in 13 games, a league best and two fewer than any other team, with more than 10 hours played without conceding a goal.And it is a tactic that could see them finish the weekend on top of the Premier League mountain with over a third of the season’s fixtures played. They are also only one win away from topping their Champions League group. So what are Van Gaal’s critics moaning about?As it stands there are 18 other sets of Premier League fans who wished their club were in the Red Devils’ position. Two years ago, when David Moyes was at the helm, to be challenging for the title again was unthinkable.Van Gaal is rebuilding and reshaping the poor squad he inherited and is starting from the back, first ensuring United do not lose before he focuses on rejuvenating the attack.It is exactly what Ferguson did, ensuring he had a strong base at the back so he could afford to take chances and build at the front.It is very difficult to be perfect in both attack and defence, and Van Gaal has chosen the more rational option and consequently sacrificed the traditional ‘Manchester United way’. Ferguson spoilt United fans and gave them a sense of entitlement by coupling playing exciting football and winning trophies. But his feat is rare.Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has always been praised for the aesthetically pleasing way his side plays – but how many trophies has this philosophy returned in the last ten years?Mourinho, despite winning trophies wherever he managed, was criticised for his negative mentality. In fact, Real Madrid sacked him for it.Manchester United fans should embrace what Van Gaal has done. He has stabilised the club in its most uncertain period for 28 years. He has taken them back to the Champions League and put them firmly in this season’s title race.It is an arrogance to think United must win in a particular and idealistic way. It is pragmatic, though, to think United must win in any way they can, even if it is dull and that is what Van Gaal is doing.last_img