Louis van Gaal’s post-match comments following Holland’s 1-0 win against Ghana suggested it will not always be free-flowing football at Manchester United next season.
The Dutch were resilient at the back to record their first victory since October, and speaking after the game, new United boss van Gaal made no excuse for his less attractive tactics.
“I’ve been assigned to win,” he said in quotes published by Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
“I need to get the most out of this team. That’s me. And nothing else.”
Van Gaal has had to scrap his favoured 4-3-3 formation due to the long-term injury to midfield linchpin Kevin Strootman, opting instead to play 5-3-2. But in so doing, the 62-year-old has proved he is able to adapt when required, giving United fans hope that there will be a Plan B next season and beyond.
Following the news that van Gaal would be at Old Trafford next season, many fans expected him to bring his free-flowing style to the club week-in-week-out. But he is experienced enough to know that he will have to adapt to what he has at his disposal.
One senses that is why he is reportedly so keen to bring Strootman to United, in order to play his more expansive game. But if that is not possible, expect van Gaal to do for United what he does for Holland.
After all, as he said himself, he has been assigned to win, in both his current and his future post.