Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United side have been the subject of mockery and criticism this season for their 'boring' performances.
The Red Devils have been immensely lambasted for their defensive tactics and lack of attacking impetus. Club legend Paul Scholes was the latest to vehemently oppose Van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’, suggesting his former side are brilliantly coached to defend, not attack.
He openly ridiculed the team’s rigid style and insisted it is hurting individual's who aren’t encouraged to dribble past opposition.
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There have been several reports since suggesting the 20-time league champions are just not good enough and lack the depth and quality to become genuine title contenders.
This lack of quality, especially in attack, is something that Van Gaal recognises and thereby employs a defensive approach to better their chances of success.
The Dutchman's current formation is extremely rigid, with players more or less starting and ending a game in the very same position. The players seem devoid of playing attractive, innovative football and seldom do anything other than what they have been instructed to.
United’s tactical ploys seem purely and solely to maintain their clean sheets, since their wingers and forwards aren’t talented enough to win them games.
However, it is not so much a lack of quality, but a lack of pace, which seems to be hurting the red half of Manchester. Their wingers are not quick enough to provide that burst of acceleration required to win big games.
Arguably the club’s biggest summer transfer, Dutch wonderkid Memphis Depay, has particularly failed to live up to his billing. The 21-year-old was added to the club in the hope of providing some much needed acceleration and creativity to their game.
It's too early to judge the winger’s credentials, of course, but Depay’s failure to announce himself to the Premier League has placed pressure on the likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial - when played out wide - and Juan Mata to carry their attack.
The latter has been brilliant with his intricate passing but isn’t the most suited for a foot race against the Premier League’s defenders. Therefore, it's 22-year-old Lingard and Martial who have proven the talismen in attack - but a top club like Manchester United cannot afford to be reliant on two inexperienced forwards.
As a result, Van Gaal will be eargerly looking towards the January transfer window, with the likes Sadio Mane or Jamie Vardy of the perfect mould.
Despite their hefty price tags and unproven ability at a top team, the pair would introduce that injection of pace the club desperately requires to shift from their defensive mentality.