Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has suggested that the 1-1 draw at Chelsea last weekend saw Louis van Gaal achieve something which went missing during the David Moyes era.
Neville has praised the way LvG helped create a sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of, and during, the match against Chelsea which created an atmosphere which wasn’t evident last season.
“There was a really positive atmosphere, which has definitely been missing from matches at Old Trafford,” said Neville on Monday Night Football for Sky Sports.
Neville’s Monday Night Football colleague Jamie Carragher appeared to back up Neville’s claim, suggesting that the celebration after Robin Van Persie’s goal showed how much the current side is fighting.
“When Van Persie scored, I haven’t seen a reaction like that from players and fans before – Who can tell how important that goal will be,” added Carragher.
United produced one of their best performances of the season against Chelsea and Van Persie’s late equaliser prevented what would have been another difficult defeat for van Gaal to accept.
It changed the whole dynamic of the result and gave United a physical reward for a solid performance against the side, which has dominated the Premier League so far this season.
The performance hinted at the way United used to play against the bigger sides under Sir Alex Ferguson; looking at the opposition’s biggest threats right in the face and shutting them down.
That helps to explain why Neville felt a different vibe in the air while he commentated on the game for Sky because there was just a slight hint of the feeling which fans enjoyed during their most successful spell under Fergie.
There’s arguably an even bigger challenge lurking this weekend with a trip to Manchester City where United were well beaten 4-1 last season.
Wayne Rooney could return for that game and United fans will very much have the momentum if van Gaal’s team can get one over on their local rivals and put three points on the board.