Giggs looking forward as Van Gaal flexible on formation
Ryan Giggs says United players are ‘excited’ about the new season after seeing some of Louis van Gaal’s bold decisions pay off at the World Cup.
Van Gaal enjoyed a successful summer in Brazil, leading the Netherlands to the semi-finals where they lost on penalties to Argentina.
The 62-year-old played his part in the run to the last four. A goal down against Mexico in the last 16, he threw on Klass-Jan Huntelaar who set up the equaliser and scored the winner.
And in the quarter-final against Costa Rica he replaced Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul just before the penalty shoot-out. The Netherlands won and
Krul was the hero.
Giggs and the rest of the United players saw it all unfold on television. But now Van Gaal has arrived at Old Trafford, his new No.2 is looking forward to seeing some of those important decisions benefit United next season.
Giggs said: “It’s what makes top managers. Their decision-making.
“If it had gone wrong he would have had to face the consequences but he fully backed his decision-making and that what he was doing was right.
“That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to back what you think is right. Sometimes it will go wrong but if you stick to your principles usually it will be OK.
“You have to do that if you are manager of Manchester United. You have to make decisions and you have to put them into practice like that.
“I think everyone was excited. If I was the opposition penalty taker going up it would be somewhere in my head - why have I changed keepers? Is he someone special?
“The reality is Tim Krul didn’t have a particularly good record but the Costa Rican players didn’t know that.”
Van Gaal’s first big decision at United has been to adopt the 3-5-2 system that worked so well for in in Brazil.
It’s not something the players aren’t used to with both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes preferring variations of 4-4-2 and 4-3-3.
Van Gaal says he will stick with his new formation against Real Madrid in Ann Arbor in their International Champions Cup match tonight, and throughout the rest of pre-season.
But he’s admitted he’s willing to change if it doesn’t work in the Premier League. And he insists even minor changes can make all the difference.
Van Gaal said: “We have transformed the Dutch school from 1-4-3-3 and depending on the opponent it can be 5-3-2 also.
“Against Roma they played with three strikers so I changed it to five defenders. But we pushed through.
“That kind of thing I have done with the Dutch school. Transform it into a new system. But all the players here at Manchester United are used to playing 4-3-3.
“So I can change like I did with the Dutch team against Mexico to 4-3-3.
“I only have to change one position and we play 1-4-3-3. So it is dependent on the process of where we are. Until now I am very satisfied.”
Van Gaal has already admitted it could take three months for his players to learn how he wants them to play.
It happened at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich - although he won the title in his first seasons at both clubs.
The three-man defence is popular in Italy and Brendan Rodgers used it occasionally at Liverpool last season.
But 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 are still the most common systems used in the Premier League.
And Van Gaal says that’s good news for United after a summer spent learning that his 3-5-2 is most vulnerable against teams that play in a similar way.
He said: “When you followed the World Cup the Dutch squad had most of the problems when playing opponents who are playing the same system.
“Chile, we beat them 2-0 but in the last 10 minutes. We beat them and now we are not fit enough because we only had three or four days to recover.
“We played against Mexico who played the same system and won 2-1 and Costa Rica - 0-0. Three same systems all three games decided in the last 10 minutes.”