Ex-Liverpool player and manager says van Gaal's United transition will be "long and painful"

Louis Van Gaal

Former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness believes that Manchester United may not gel until November under Louis van Gaal.

Manchester United's summer has been eventful - to say the least. Dutch manager Louis van Gaal has replaced David Moyes in the Old Trafford hot seat, whilst the club have also spent over £150m on acquiring new talent. Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao have all been snapped up in a bid to haul United back up the table.

So far, things haven't quite gone to plan. Two draws and a defeat in their opening three Premier League games have been disappointing, whilst the 4-0 loss to Milton Keynes Dons in the Capital One Cup is one of the most embarrassing nights in the club's recent history.

The 3-5-2 system installed by van Gaal hasn't worked so far, and former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness believes that the transition to his style of play could mean United will need until November to start clicking on the field.

"If Van Gaal is determined to persist with a back three, this is going to be a long and painful transition for United," said Souness. "The team may take until November to settle down. You ain't going to win the league if you take that long and you might not make the Champions League places either."

"United have already dropped seven points from a possible nine. If you continue with three at the back and the results are not improving players will not be slow in turning round and pointing their fingers at the coach, saying, 'It's not that I am not playing well, it's the system'."

Meanwhile Souness also believes that the 3-5-2 system won't be suitable for accommodating new signing Di Maria. The £60m capture from Real Madrid is primarily a left winger, but Souness doesn't understand where he is going to play in United's 3-5-2 setup.

"Angel di Maria is too much of a winger to play as a wing-back, so he could play one position inside the widest man in a 3-5-2," added the Scot. "If you play with a back four you can play him wide, as Argentina did when he made three goals and scored the other in their 4-2 win over Germany in midweek. I don't read much into international friendlies but that performance showed his talent."

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