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Louis van Gaal must hit the ground running at Manchester United

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So, maybe Louis van Gaal isn't a tactical genius after all.

To be honest, I hadn't bought into the theory that bringing on a taller, bigger goalkeeper with more attitude necessarily amounted to tactical genius anyway. I suspect it was as much an opportunist ploy to try and break the psychological barrier the Dutch had (maybe still have) over penalties. And to that extent it worked in that one instance.

What was more worrying from a Manchester United viewpoint wasn't the team's inability to sustain this confidence into another penalty shoot-out or the failure of the coach to persuade the right people to take the penalties at the right time; what I would be truly concerned about was the abject performance and attitude of the Netherlands team in a World Cup semi-final.

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They completely failed to carry the game to the Argentinians, seemingly intent on keeping the ball and their shape while making few incisive runs and even fewer incisive passes.

If tika taka is dead, no-one seems to have told the Dutch. They took the concept to a new height of pointlessness against Argentina; despite having 53% of possession they created virtually nothing and few of their passes were anything but ball retention.

The intention seemed to be to stifle the game and the whole approach was unadventurous and impotent. Say it quietly in Manchester, but it could almost have been a David Moyes inspired performance.

I don't know if these were Van Gaal's considered tactics - but, if they weren't, what is he doing coaching the team? This Dutch team undoubtedly have attacking power and flair in Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder but little of it was in evidence as Robben dropped deeper and deeper just to get a touch of the ball and Sneijder and Van Persie were almost completely ineffective.

Van Gaal won't have the resources of the Dutch squad when he takes over Manchester United next week. True he will have the prolific Van Persie and is rumoured to be chasing Sneijder but neither will thrive on performances and tactics like the Dutch employed against Argentina.

In fact, if Van Gaal is thinking of adopting similar strategies in the Premier League the one member of the Dutch squad he might take a look at is Ron Vlaar. The Aston Villa defender was excellent against the Argentinans and had the strength of character to stand up and take the first penalty when others, apparently, didn't fancy it.

He is in the final year of his contract and surely would be worth whatever it would take to prise him away from Villa a year early.

How the Old Trafford faithful would take this as a signal of intent from Van Gaal is another matter altogether.

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Topics:
Manchester United
World Cup
Premier League
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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