Manchester United maintained their unbeaten pre-season record with victory over Valencia on Tuesday evening, but Louis van Gaal described the performance of his team as the ‘worst’ since he has taken charge.
Van Gaal wants improvement
Van Gaal presided over Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time as they faced La Liga opposition once again, having previously overcome Real Madrid in pre-season, but the former Netherlands manager was not impressed.
Darren Fletcher opened the scoring with an effort that deflected horribly before Rodrigo Moreno found an equaliser for the visitors.
It was not until the final minute that Marouane Fellaini found a winner, and Van Gaal claims there must be much improvement before facing Swansea on the same ground this weekend.
"We have won in spite of that we have played our worst game," Van Gaal told MUTV.
"We made a lot of wrong choices, wrong passes and we didn't press too much."
Reason for optimism
Regardless of Van Gaal’s irritation, Manchester United have enjoyed an excellent pre-season and it is one that offers reason to be optimistic ahead of the imminent Premier League campaign.
Six games and six victories, albeit one courtesy of a penalty shootout, is an impressive record indeed for Van Gaal, and particularly given that he has achieved it with virtually the same set of players that he inherited.
Van Gaal has signed only two first team squad members, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, since he replaced David Moyes, and there will almost certainly be another couple of additions before the transfer deadline.
Herrera has performed very well while Shaw has been used more sparingly, but the most notable displays have been from Manchester United’s more recognised players - those unable to really get going under the previous manager.
Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news
New lease of life
Van Gaal has been able to instil a confidence in his squad that Moyes could not, with Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Darren Fletcher and others all thriving under the tutelage of this supreme man manager.
It was perhaps fitting that Marouane Fellaini, the marquee Moyes signing of last summer and a player made the scapegoat of his brief reign, capped off pre-season with his maiden Manchester United goal.
Van Gaal has suggested that the much maligned Belgian could remain with the club despite reports linking him with a move away. And, should another midfielder not be signed in the next few weeks, Fellaini could establish himself as the holding player of choice. What a turnaround that would be.
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