Louis van Gaal faces tough choices – Alex McLeish
Louis van Gaal must quickly work out the system that best suits the players he has at his disposal, according to former Scotland manager Alex McLeish.
United suffered their first opening day home defeat since 1972 when losing 2-1 at home to Swansea on Saturday.
Van Gaal started with three centre-backs in his new-look formation, but with both Swansea goals coming from defensive errors, McLeish says the Dutchman may be forced into a tactical rethink.
“With wing backs who are forwards really, they must learn the art of defending as well very quickly if they are going to be title contenders this season,” McLeish said.
“We know that there are still another 37 games to go and I’m sure United will be in there but it looks like they might need a bit of freshness.
“The players that have been playing at centre back have not shown their full confidence and belief in themselves and that’s something van Gaal needs to find in these players.
“When you lose two top quality defenders like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, then that leaves a bit of a hole in a side such as Manchester United.
“It doesn’t matter who you bring in – unless it’s someone like Vincent Kompany – only then you can cope with that.
“I think van Gaal really has to decide on a system that really suits the players he has at his disposal.”
McLeish says the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager can draw comfort from Wayne Rooney’s performance as captain.
“He went about his role well, he’s taken the captaincy with great pride and gets his goal at the weekend scoring a nice overhead kick,” said the former Birmingham City boss.
“Rooney now needs to show everyone he can play consistently well for the whole season as the new captain of Manchester United.”