The MEN claims there has been some criticism from United fans over van Gaal’s recent decision to revert to the 3-5-2 system he started the season with.
However, the manager has offered an explanation to fans, which works both ways.
“I know in advance when we play with four midfielders in a diamond that we create more chances but then the balance of the team is also weak,” said van Gaal.
Arguably United’s greatest strength is the number of talented attacking players they have in the team, which allows them to cash in when they do use a system balanced more towards the attack.
However, there were occasions over the first half of the campaign where the defence was criticised, with the Independent detailing a battle of words between the boss and former United defender Gary Neville as recently as last month.
United should still have enough talent to create the chances to win important matches when van Gaal uses what he sees as a more balanced formation.
All the fans want to see is United blowing teams away and it’s reasonable for them to expect just that when the side spent £60 million to sign Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid among other signings last summer.
The downside of using a midfield diamond is that it places pressure on the full-backs to get forward and provide the width.
It also makes a team vulnerable because it provides more space for the opposition to attack out wide on the counter attack, which is a common tactic used by sides against opponents who are more likely to dominate possession.
United are back on track after an important win, but there’s still plenty of debate over when they’re at their best.