Kevin Strootman makes injury return

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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has admitted to tinkering with his new team too much.

Van Gaal spent much of pre-season trying to implement a three-man defence but soon abandoned that after failing to win any of his first three league games in charge. He's also experimented with two strikers in his team and is currently trialling a system with one in attack.

Mixed results

So far the Manchester United boss has endured mixed results with his current system having drawn with Chelsea, lost to Manchester City and beaten Crystal Palace this weekend - and Van Gaal says his regular tactical changes may be the cause of their lack of consistency.

"It's too much [change to formation] I think, I agree," he told reporters after the win at Old Trafford. "But I'm looking for the balance and when you see the last four matches, we have had more balance because we haven't conceded many goals.

"Nevertheless, we don't score so much. With the other system, we scored a lot of goals."

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Top four hopes

Despite their problems, Manchester United remain in the hunt for a top four finish because the likes Liverpool and Arsenal are also struggling to hit their stride. As things stand they're just two points off of West Ham in fourth place, while Arsenal are just one point ahead and rivals are two points back.

Van Gaal believes that Champions League qualification is still on the cards, but concedes his side need to raise their game after watching them struggle to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

“We have to ensure we maintain that we are in a position that we can be in the first four positions,” said the Dutchman. “Of course, we need to raise our level. It’s a matter of time but it’s also a matter of getting over a lot of injuries. When you have nine injuries and also a suspended player then that is always more difficult because I cannot select a lot of players. I can only line up 11 players because I don’t have the players in the positions that I want to play.”

Strootman returns

Roma ace Kevin Strootman made his long-awaited comeback from injury against Torino on Sunday. The Dutch midfielder has been sidelined for eight months but is now back to full fitness - and Manchester United could well move for him in January.

Van Gaal is said to be a huge admirer of Strootman, although Roma have publicly insisted that they don't want to sell up, although would consider an offer in the region of £79 million.

....And finally

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has waded into the debate about Juan Mata’s future, insisting that the Spaniard should leave Old Trafford because he’s too good to be sat on the bench.

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