Phil Jones in a hurry to pick up new manager Louis van Gaal’s style at Manchester United

The defender made light of the Dutchman's switch to a back three

It is all about the communication where Manchester United’s new manager is concerned.

Ryan Giggs seizes on the point when asked what has been Louis van Gaal’s single most striking characteristic – “Everything he does is clear. Clear!” – and it was the same point from Phil Jones as he reflected on his first night at the centre of a back three which brought a 7-0 win against LA Galaxy.

Van Gaal had told him about this idea “straight away”, Jones disclosed and all that we have heard this last week conveys the sense of a manager in a hurry. Jones made light of there being one fewer in that back line, with Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw as wing-backs. “If one [of the three] goes in [to challenge] the other two have got to come round and cover,” he said. “It’s the same when you’re playing two at the back, one goes up for a header the other comes round.” Yet there was no disguising the pressure on him in a command role, gesturing and ensuring that Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans were fanning out wide as United built from gone back.

Wayne Rooney scores from the penalty spot against LA Galaxy Wayne Rooney scores from the penalty spot against LA Galaxy (Getty Images)
The challenge will be harder when a superior, more tactically aware side – such as Roma in Denver on Saturday – are the opposition. But the rapid shifting around of the ball ahead of the defence – with £29m Ander Herrera the outstanding exponent of the new Dutch style – suggests already that we will see a more dangerous United next season.

Also worth mentioning in dispatches are Juan Mata, Darren Fletcher and Danny Welbeck, who all looked reinvigorated and equipped to shift the ball at speed and interchange positions. “There was a bunch of guys out there fighting for their jobs: it certainly looked that way,” said the Galaxy manager, Bruce Arena. “We got a lesson on speed of play. The style is so obviously different. It looks a lot like the Holland we saw at the World Cup. It’s going to be a great challenge from this team in the Premier League next season.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own